Getting To Know Your College Application – The Admissions Triangle
For most students, the college application can be their worst enemy. After all, it has the potential to pants you in front of a gymnasium full of your classmates, punch you in the gut when you’re not ready and destroy your hopes of getting into your dream school. But at Parent 2 Parent College Network, we think the college application can be your best friend and the most important asset you have in helping you get into the college of your choice.
So, how do you turn this frenemy into your BFF? Well, first, like all new relationships, we need to get to know the college application.
Your new BFF, aka, your college application has three sides. We look at this as the three sides of the college Admissions Triangle. The first side is made up of your grades. Your grades consist of your GPA and class rank. The second side is made up of your scores. Your scores are the results of your SAT or ACT. The last side of the Admissions Triangle is your personality. Your personality consists of your personal statement and essays, your college resume and your recommendations.
Let’s start by examining each side of the Admissions Triangle.
The first side of the Admissions Triangle is your Grades. There is a lot of debate out there about how much colleges are relying on a GPA. Of course, the higher the better, but a GPA that’s not exactly where you want it to be isn’t going to be a deal breaker. According to most admissions officers, a challenging course load is viewed alongside your GPA and class rank so if you have lower grades in challenging courses, then you’ll be looked upon more favorable than students with higher GPAs and easier course loads. Admissions officers also want to see a course schedule that’s progressed from more basic material in your first two years to a more advanced schedule such as honors or AP classes in you last two years. However, if you’re reading this as junior or senior, we realize that there in no way for you to go back in time and rearrange you course load or study harder for that calculus test. If your grades aren’t where you’d like them to be, don’t worry – you’ll just have to make up for it on the remaining sides of the Admissions Triangle.
The second side of the Admissions Triangle is your Scores. Whether you opt for the ACT or the SAT is an article all to itself, but either way, most schools require one or the other – Unless you choose an SAT optional school. SAT optional schools don’t require you to submit SAT scores as part of your evaluation. If you don’t feel your scores reflect who you are as a student, we recommend that you investigate these schools and see if they’re right for you. Either way, we recommend that you take both the SAT and ACT and see how you do. Just like the grades side of the equation, the higher the better, but don’t get to discouraged if your scores are lower than you hoped. You can still make up for low grades and scores on the third side of the Admissions Triangle.
Personality, the third side of the Admissions Triangle! This is our favorite side of because it doesn’t require four years of work like your GPA or hundreds of hours of studying like the SAT. Your personality side is something that doesn’t have to take a lot of time and, if done right, can dramatically improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice – even with low grades and scores. Listen to admissions officers — I mean really listen — not only to what they say, but also to what they don’t say. And when you study patterns of admission and rejection, like I have, you begin hearing volumes in their silence. From all my study, I have come to this conclusion: Personality isn’t just the most important side of the Admissions Triangle, it’s the only side. This is the part of the triangle that you control. This is the side of the triangle that schools care about. And that’s the side you should care about too!
Now that you know the three sides of your new BFF, take her out to a movie, share a pizza and watch her get you into the college of your dreams.