Already a long and tedious process, the college application is difficult for many students and families. If you are a student looking to attend one of the most prestigious and highly-ranked universities in the US, this wearisome task becomes a heavier beacon on your shoulder every day during high school.
While it is a confusing and exhausting moment in time of your adolescent age, receiving the admissions offer letter is all worth the great deal of work.
If you are looking to attend an Ivy League school or an exceedingly competitive college, effectively planning and preparing during high school is highly valuable and strategic.
Therefore, in today's 7EDU blog post, we will recommend to students the appropriate courses to take while in high school that is either 1) required for top schools' standards or 2) beneficial in your college application repertoire.
Want to know what what isn't necessary on college applications? Read our last blog post here.
Read on to find out how to map out your high school classes and schedule so you have the greatest opportunity and chance of your college of choice
A common truth when applying for any college or university is that the admissions office looks for student candidates that consistently grow and challenge their academic capabilities.
If you don't believe us, take a look at the academic course suggestions that Yale University has for its first-year student applicants:
"When the admissions committee looks at your transcript, it will not focus on whether you have taken any specific course. It will be far more interesting to see that you have challenged yourself with difficult coursework, and have done well."
For more Yale University advice and recommendations for high school courses to take, click here.
Many colleges, such as Yale University, look forward to applications that meet such academic rigor guidelines in their academic transcripts. Generally speaking, students that are aiming for Ivy Leagues and competitive universities should be enrolling in meticulous coursework while in high school.
Learn how to ace one of the most difficult portions of the college application in last week's blog post here.
Honors and AP Classes
If available at your high school, we recommend students to sign up for classes that are of the highest academic degree. Typically, you can expect these courses to be the Honors and AP classes.
This does not necessarily mean that you should be registering for a bunch of APs and Honors your senior year — but rather, finding out what are your strong educational points and enrolling in challenging courses for those particular subject areas.
The reasoning behind this approach is that students are able to illustrate their strong traits in a special area of interest and demonstrate to the admissions officer that they have the relevant learning and experience in those educational topics.
It is valuable to note that by taking Honors and AP courses that fascinate you, the more you are willing to study and learn the area of topic. That passion and genuine enthusiasm should aid in helping students achieve good grades and high marks effortlessly.
Moreover, top schools assessing applicants are able to see whether a student is truly interested in a high-level course because of their passion or simply because they want to take as many rigorous classes as they can.
Wondering what SAT, ACT and GPA scores top schools and Ivy Leagues have? Read our previous blog post to find out.
Students that decide to strategically enroll in a few Honors and AP courses will not only illustrate to the college admissions office that they are qualified but that they are able to challenge themselves and succeed.
The next time you are deciding what classes to take for your high school schedule, maybe venture beyond the core curriculum offered and enroll in some Honors and AP classes. Be sure to choose the ones that are of special interest to you and that you would truly enjoy taking.
Grades versus Rigorousness
Which is more important? Many parents and students have asked this specific question when beginning their college application process.
Highly selective and competitive colleges generally favor student candidates that have taken top-level courses while in high school. Remember though, perfect grades are not the key to getting admitted into the college of your choice.
Any college or even Ivy League university is looking admit students that have the competency to learn and succeed in the academic classes they have to offer on their campuses — and that means the students that have As and Bs in challenging high school classes versus applicants who have near-perfect marks in low to mid-level coursework.
Colleges are not seeking to offer a letter of admission to candidates who are not challenging themselves intellectually. On the contrary, the admissions office look out for students that sincerely appreciate what they are learning and have both the rigorous and scholastic ambitions to prove that they can thrive in such a tough academic environment.
Although it is essential that students challenge themselves in rigorous classes while in high school, we do not recommend that students enroll in a class that is too intense for the learner. Mental health comes first in achieving academic success and a stringent course load might harm your grades more than help it.
If you are lacking motivation and encouragement, check out our blog post here to get some inspiration!
Find the right balance that works for you as a student without going through burn-out.
Play On Your Strengths
Previously mentioned above, it is tactical for students to choose high school classes that coincide with their academic strengths.
Students should be building their school schedule that operates alongside their educational strong points while completing the standards and core curriculum.
If you are unsure of what your strengths and weaknesses are, high schools normally have guidance counselors that are experienced on guidance and advice on what courses to take. Come prepared for a meeting with your high school counselor with a potential list of colleges you are interested in and what the admission requirements are. With their expertise and previous guidance to past students, they are a great resource in understanding your strengths and what high school classes will appropriately challenge you.
Preparing to apply for colleges, Ivy Leagues, and top schools is already wearisome as competition increases with every year. We hope today's blog post gave direction to some parents and students looking to structure their high school classes and schedule in preparation for college application season.
7EDU Impact Academy offers many college preparation services including one-on-ones, counseling, and specific courses. Feel free to contact us at (408) 216-9109 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
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