The college admissions process has become increasingly competitive.

It seems that students these days must excel in all areas: they must be straight-A students, stellar test-takers and motivated leaders in the community.

Now this picture isn’t entirely factual. There is definitely room within the American higher education system for students who are less than outstanding in one or more areas of the college admissions process.

However, one section of the application does demand a strong performance: the high school transcript. Remember, this is the number one factor in college admissions! And the transcript is not just a list of numbers and grades. It is a far more revealing document: one that illustrates the choices a student has made, his or her perseverance, intellectual interests, and academic successes.

In this next series of posts, I’ll explain how colleges evaluate GPA. Then I’ll answer three of the questions I most frequently get asked on this topic. I’ll give case studies of two very different students in order to show what effect their GPA had on their college prospects. Finally, I’ll discuss the International Baccalaureate (IB) option and compare it with the AP system, which is much more common in the U.S.

Chapter 1

How Colleges Evaluate GPA

The high school GPA is the most important factor for admissions at virtually every college in the U.S. Many students don’t understand exactly how colleges evaluate high school transcripts.

Chapter 2

GPA – Frequently Asked Questions

Take a look at our list of frequently asked questions on the importance of a good high school GPA and the college admissions process.

Chapter 3

Case Study: Dan, the Good, but Not Perfect Student

Students need not be perfect to have a realistic shot at many of the most selective colleges. See this GPA case study about Dan, the good but not perfect, student.

Chapter 4

Case Study: Debbie, the Struggling Student

Many readers know a student like Debbie. Her high school transcript wasn’t in the best shape, and with poor grades, she needed to do more to get into a good school.

Chapter 5

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between IB and AP programs? Learn more about the International Baccalaureate Program here.

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