The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the premier organization that connects college admissions officers, high school counselors, independent counselors and others associated with the college admissions process, yesterday released their annual report, the State of College Admissions (SOCA).
While there are some interesting tidbits of information in this report, such as that enrollment at four-year colleges has leveled and the number of high school graduates in the U.S. is on a slight decline, the most useful piece of information from this report has not changed from last year: the most important factor in college admissions is a student’s grades during their four years of high school, followed closely by the rigor of the classes the student took.
While essays, teacher recommendations, extra-curricular activities/leadership and other factors still remain a consideration, students and parents should know that grades throughout high school – including 9th grade (except for the UC and CSU systems, which do not consider grades from 9th grade) – count in this process.
It’s never too early to understand that mistakes or slacking off in 9th or 10th grade will hurt a student’s chances in the college admissions process. I’ve had a number of clients both accepted to and rejected from colleges this week, including Ohio State University, University of Oregon, University of Maryland and others. Most colleges care about the entirety of a student’s four years in high school more than they care about standardized test scores.