You are looking at the competitive college admissions wrong.
Competitive colleges NEVER emphasize one item more than another. They look at your overall character.
That means EVERYTHING. But that doesn’t mean you need to be good at everything but you continue to develop your character and manage student basic responsibilities such as school attendance and class performance.
Instead of thinking about that whether SAT or GPA is what colleges want to see, I want you to think about what do YOU want to show colleges?
If your GPA is not good because of bad class choices or teachers, but you are confident with your academic ability, score high on your SAT and prove it.
If you are not good at test-taking but do well in a classroom setting then talk to your teachers for extra credit or seek improvement from time to time to get a good GPA.
More importantly, think that every student only has 24 hours a day.
No one is going to be The capital/chair/president of something + 4.0 GPA + 1600 SAT and neither do you. Colleges do not expect to see that either (that often means the student got A LOT of help and that usually backstabs them)
Take a look at the list below and develop a character that you are comfortable building:
Go through each item and write down what has been accomplished or aim to accomplish this year
If you know the information then record it.
If you have not thought about or you will do in the future then write down the time you are going to work on it.
Depending on your grade level, count how many years you have until your graduation from high school. For example, if you are a starting sophomore then you have three years.
Go through each item again and write down what do you think you can achieve in the number of years you have left in high school.
If you are not sure about it or you are unable to think of a concrete idea, just brainstorming notes are fine
That means, to college admission, it does not matter where you go for high school, but what did you do in the context of your environment and resources.
In most cases, students don’t have a say in which school to attend due to school district or parent choice.
So if you do have options, you are the lucky few and it’s an important choice.
Think about your interests and strengths (or even weaknesses), and write them down.
Maybe even your career aspirations. Write them down.
Look at each school carefully, and see what they offer to students, including on-campus curricula and activities, faculty and facility, and most importantly, your potential peers (are they nice? or all jerks?).
Choose the high school that will elevate your learning experience because they have the right opportunities and resources for who you are and what you want to do in the future.
I assume when you say “the top,” you mean academically.
The truth is, to colleges, “being the top” can mean various things. As long as a student is developing the best self and showing actions to prepare for their future, you are at the top, musically, artistically, athletically, academically…etc. You name it.
So, you want to pick your battleground (the right high school) carefully. Find an environment where you will be “the top” because the high school has what you need to become The Top of your version.
Here are 7 factors to consider when choosing a high school:
What are the classes you can take? How will they fit into your schedule? What requirements do you need to graduate from that high school, and how does it align with your post-secondary plans? For example, if you want to study music in college, an academic requirement is going to be a basic music appreciation course.
2. Class Size
How many students are in a class? What experience do the teachers have? How will that work for you? For example, if you’re a high-achieving student who needs time with your teachers to build relationships and ask questions, would going from a class size of 20 to 30 hinder your ability to succeed in a class?
What options are available to you as a student, beyond basic academics? Are there activities for which you’re passionate about that will allow you to become involved in those fields? For example, if you want to be part of a music ensemble or play sports through high school, how many options are available?
What opportunities exist to collaborate with other students beyond learning in a class setting? For example, if you’re interested in helping out younger students as an extracurricular activity, does the high school have a mentor program or similar offering?
5. Specialized Programs
What programs or opportunities exist for you to do something that sets you apart from other students in your class? For example, if you’re a writer and want to apply for an internship through your high school, would the high school have staff who know where those opportunities are available locally?
What resources beyond the classroom is the school able to offer you? For example, do you need physical therapy at the beginning of the day? Is there an opportunity for students like yourself to get that type of care on or near campus?
Is there a location where you’ll want to stay, or is flexibility important to you? For example, if you’re an athlete, is it important for you to stay close to training facilities if your high school has more than one campus?
I am glad you are asking this question, that means you are thinking and I think you will do great. Keep going!
It depends on where you are now – how many accumulated GPA hours/credits you have that encompass your current GPA point and how many units you will take next year.
GPA is calculated based on two numbers: Total GPA Points and Total GPA Hours/Credits
GPA point in a class= class grade point (A=4; B=3; C=2; D=1; F=0) x number of units for that class
Total GPA Points = sum of all GPA points from all courses taken with a letter grade
Total GPA Units = sum of all the units that contribute to your total GPA points
So, let’s say your 3.4 GPA encompasses 60 units, then your total GPA points are 3.4 x 60 = 204
One year in college, assuming you only enroll in the Fall and Spring semesters, a student can earn 32 units on average. You can use the following logic to calculate the total GPA points you need to get to 3.6.
Current GPA = 204/60=3.4 Prospecting GPA = (204 + ?)/(60+32)>3.6
→ (204+?)>331.2 → ?>127.2
So, if you are taking 32 units in the next year, try to get an average GPA of 3.975 or higher to raise your GPA to 3.6.
Use the same logic. You can calculate any GPA you want to reach and start planning your classes.
However, as a student counselor, I train my students not to care about their GPA at all. Because at the end of the day, your GPA merely represents your academic performance. Your academic performance is being evaluated in the classroom by your instructor. To obtain the highest GPA you can get, you need to do two things – understand the game rules (class) and win (earn) as many points as possible.
Believe it or not, you just have to read the syllabus in-depth, and you will earn points like never before. Make a copy of this Google Doc worksheetI use to teach my students to be the master of earning points in class.