The College Post
The College Post -- Covering Higher Education in America

High School Performance Valued Most by Colleges in Admission

A new National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) survey has found that grades in all high school and college prep courses play an important role in freshmen’s planning to apply for college.

According to the 2019 State of College Admission report, nearly 75 percent of colleges paid considerable importance to grades in all courses, while 73 percent used grades in college prep courses as a factor while considering an individual for admission during 2018 fall.

The strength of curriculum, essay or writing sample and counselor or teacher’s recommendation were among the other factors primarily considered by colleges when reviewing applications.

Surprisingly, nearly half of the colleges still consider admission test scores as the main factor in while considering admission, despite a continuous pushback by various groups to do away with this practice.

A recent report by Georgetown University researchers found that most selective colleges in the U.S. would have significantly less diverse student bodies if they adopted a standardized test only admission policy. It also noted that test-only admissions would lead to a decrease in the enrollment of black and Latino students.

“While the Varsity Blues scandal raised important questions about equity in our educational system, it is important to remember that a student’s academic performance in high school is what colleges value most when reviewing applications,” said NACAC CEO Joyce Smith.

In March a federal court in Boston had charged 50 people, including famous Hollywood celebrities, for allegedly paying bribes to get their children accepted into top higher education institutions.

The number of applications or colleges witnesses an upward trend between 2017 and 2018 fall. First-time freshmen applications witnessed a 6 percent increase, while international student applications grew by 7 percent.

Among the range of strategies that colleges employ to recruit students are sending emails, maintaining institutional websites, hosting campus visits, high school visits and direct mail, as well as outreach to both parents and high school counselors.

“The landscape of higher education is shifting. Understanding the wide range of factors colleges consider when reviewing applications is critical, whether in advising students or promoting best practices within the profession,” Smith added.

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