In today’s society, a college education is considered paramount for success in adulthood. In order to be admitted to university, students must exhibit sufficient skills and understanding which will convince admission departments that you will be able to survive a higher education environment.
The primary means of determination is your score in the ACT or SAT test. These standardized tests are designed to evaluate quantitative and verbal skills and understanding. Simply put, if your scores on the various sections in these tests do not meet the minimum levels set by individual schools, your admission will be problematical. Since these tests are standardized, the scores are not subject to differing interpretations as is the case with grades. The essay component of these tests, though not incorporated into the composite score, is extremely important especially when applying to schools which require admission essays. Essays are timed. You may not receive help. Therefore, this is the only example of your writing which schools can evaluate as the students’ own. Declining to do these essays is tantamount to rejection by most good universities.
Your GPA is also of importance, but because of differences in grading criteria among schools and teachers, it is given lesser consideration in admissions. However, a D or lower in any core or required subject will diminish your chances at most universities, and eliminate you from consideration at some.
Other factors which may be considered include, but is not limited to, community service, extracurricular activities, scholarships, alumni status, and recommendations.
State-supported schools generally have lower admissions standards than private schools. It is much easier to matriculate into an in-state university than one out of state. The top schools in the nation, whether private or state-supported, will require absolutely top scores and grades – after all, you will be competing with tens of thousands of students, many of whom are international, well-prepared, and the best in their schools.
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David K. Yoshinaga, Ph.D., Ph.D., Sc.D.