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STEP 1: HIGH SCHOOL PRIORITIES

High School Priorities
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High School Priorities

What Matters

  • Colleges generally look at GPA, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities
  • GPA can weigh around 50% of your total application, standardized test scores can be 25-40%, and extracurricular actvities can be part of the remaining percentage if considered

GPA

  • What colleges look at most
  • Take challenging yet balanced classes
  • Colleges would rather see a student that challenges themselves, rather than a student who excels in all regular courses
  • Take courses that highlight your strengths
  • Always look at summer school as an option to retake courses (if necessary) or to just get ahead

Standardized Testing

  • SAT vs. ACT
  • Main difference is that the ACT has an added science section. Another difference is the pacing. The ACT is much faster paced than the SAT.
  • Take a diagnostic test of both to see which one you score higher in and feel more comfortable with, and focus on that one
  • Check with the colleges that you’re interested in and see if they require or recommend SAT Subject Tests
  • All colleges accept either the SAT or the ACT
  • The summer before your junior year is the best time to take a prep course
  • Research different prep courses to see which one will best fit your learning style
  • Visit some colleges to get an idea of what test scores you’re striving for

Extracurricular Activities

  • These are clubs, sports, volunteer work, leadership experience, etc.
  • Allows you to stand out amongst other students that have similar GPA and test scores as you
  • shows colleges how passionate you are about your major
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