23 JAN 2023
Is it just sufficient to have good grades in school or a stellar extracurricular profile for your child to get into a top university? Here we highlight three factors that are considered by top admissions officers.
Having a high achieving child is undoubtedly a huge advantage when it comes to opening up opportunities in life. Whether your child is an overachiever because they are academically talented, a determined hard-worker (or both!), achieving above and beyond the level of their peers is certainly an advantage on multiple fronts. This includes applying to top colleges in an increasingly competitive top college admissions environment.
However, there is a reason we are asked by parents time and time again if their child’s superior academic record is enough to get them accepted to the Ivy League and other schools in the US Top 10, 20 or 30. Many parents have become aware of the drop in top school admissions rates (with some Ivy League universities dipping to an all-time low of 3.19%), and want to know, beyond their child’s impressive academic profiles, what their child needs to do to stand out above the other impressive competition.
So what is the perfect mix to make a good application? The generally accepted breakdown is:
The largest part of your child’s admission profile are their grades. These include high school transcripts as well as standardized test scores like the SAT and ACT. When examining your child’s school transcript, admissions officers will look at your child’s grades, the courses they take, the number of classes taken, and where your child is placed against their immediate peers.
While many schools have gone test-optional in the past two years, having a high SAT score does help set your child’s profile apart from their peers.
Finally, admissions officers also look at the curriculum to determine the rigor of your child’s classes. Be it AP, IB or another curricula, your child should aim to take a number of classes that challenge them. Students who have sought extra classes beyond what their school offers may also impress admissions officers with their efforts to seek out further opportunities
Your child’s extracurriculars are an extremely important part of their application — a component that can, once the academic hurdle is cleared, be a major decider as to whether or not your child remains in the ‘pile’ for possible admission.
Unfortunately, these days simply dabbling in school clubs, playing a sport every other weekend or taking a side interest in art or music are not enough. Your child’s extracurriculars need to showcase their particular passions and how they researched, built, created, contributed and pursued projects and activities in relation to them.
While your child’s academics and extracurricular activities showcase how they study, contribute, succeed, build and challenge themselves, the personal statement, supplemental essays, and short answer questions provide admissions officers with real insight as to who your child is and what they will bring to campus if admitted.