College Admissions: Why High School Rankings Matter to Colleges
Monday, May 14, 2012
Course Rigor and AP Availability
SAT and ACT Scores Matter
While about one quarter of 4-year colleges in the U.S. have become SAT/ACT optional, most have not, and grade inflation is still a topic of national debate. According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, approximately 38% of 12th graders graduate with an A average. Colleges question that staggeringly high number. The rigor of a biology class in one school district can differ incredibly from the rigor in another. SATs or ACTs often become the “level playing field” for colleges to assess students and make admission decisions. Then once accepted, SATs or ACTs can play a role in how much merit aid you receive. Even at test optional colleges, scores are sometimes required in order to be considered for scholarships. So, a high school with a curriculum that prepares students well for the SAT or ACT can be a significant advantage.
Spending per pupil can translate into attracting top teachers with higher salaries, but it can also mean a wider variety of student services and better extra-curricular activities. In today’s age of competitive college admissions, extra-curricular activities are often a defining factor. Recruited athletes have an edge, but so do talented artists, musicians, actors, debate team captains and student council presidents. If a school cuts clubs, athletic teams or funding for the arts, it can seriously hurt a student’s chances for admission to college and scholarship dollars. Student services are also critical, in the form of learning disability resources and tutoring programs. Children who struggle in school succeed when they receive the right help, but without assistance, they often fail to get into college or stay there once accepted.
Rankings aren’t the Holy Grail, but in the end they can play an important role in evaluating how competitive your child will be when their application hits the desk of an admissions officer.
*IB is an acronym for International Baccalaureate
Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. http://www.collegeadvisorsonline.com/.
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- The Top High Schools in Rhode Island 2012
- CHART: RI’s High Schools 2012, From #1 to #51
- How We Got the Rankings: RI’s Top High Schools 2012
- RI’s #1 School 2012: East Greenwich High School
- RI’s #2 School 2012: Narragansett High School
- RI’s #3 School 2012: Exeter-West Greenwich Senior High School
- RI’s #4 School 2012: South Kingstown High School
- RI’s #5 School 2012: Barrington High School
- RI’s #6 School 2012: Chariho Regional High School
- RI’s #7 School 2012: Westerly High School
- RI’s #8 School 2012: Portsmouth High School
- RI’s #9 School 2012: Scituate High School
- RI’s #10 School 2012: Classical High School
- The Link Between Schools and Home Values: RI’s Top High Schools 2012
- Who Moved Up, Who Moved Down: RI’s Top High Schools 2012