Why School Rankings May Help You Get Into a Better College
Friday, February 24, 2012
Colleges Want Students Who Will Succeed
SAT Scores Count
While about one quarter of 4-year colleges in the U.S. have become SAT/ACT optional, most have not. And grade inflation is still a topic of national debate. According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, approximately 38% of 12th graders graduate with an A average. Colleges question that staggeringly high number. The rigor of a biology class in one school district can differ incredibly from the rigor in another. SATs (or ACTs) often become the “level playing field” for colleges to assess students and make admission decisions. Then once accepted, SATs or ACTs can play a role in how much merit aid you receive. Even at SAT/ACT optional colleges, test scores are sometimes required in order to be considered for scholarships.
Spending Per Pupil Matters
Spending per pupil can translate into attracting top teachers with higher salaries, but it can also mean a wider variety of student services and better extra-curricular activities. In today’s age of competitive college admissions, extra-curricular activities are often a defining factor. Recruited athletes have an edge, but so do talented artists, musicians, actors, debate team captains and student council presidents. If a school cuts clubs, athletic teams or funding for the arts, it can hurt a student’s chances for admission to college and scholarship dollars--TREMENDOUSLY. Student services are also critical, in the form of learning disability resources and tutoring programs. Children who struggle in school CAN and DO succeed when they receive the right help, but without assistance, they often fail to get into college or stay there once accepted.
Rankings aren’t the “end all” in choosing a school for your child. They won’t tell you where teachers stay after school to help struggling students or lend an ear to a teen who is being bullied. But they can and should play an important role in your evaluation of how well a school can prepare your child for college. Without the right resources and funding, it’s hard to graduate competitive students who gain acceptance to top colleges and receive adequate financial aid packages.
Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, individual counseling for college-bound students and their families www.collegeadvisoronline.com.
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