What Colleges Look for in Student Academic Profiles
What do colleges look for in a student's academic profile? 3 tips on what students can do now to best prepare to get into the college of their choice.
BY Paul Blomenberg
You want your child to do his or her best throughout high school. What parent wouldn’t? At Lutheran High, we are committed to providing the best curricula and learning environment possible for our students to excel.
While academic institutions and parents alike want their children to work hard and do their best, colleges and universities are often looking for specific academic profile highlights.
How to Build Academic Profiles That Impress Colleges and Universities
Whether your child is an incoming freshman or already a successful high school student, prioritizing these areas can help compile an academic profile that is sure to impress admissions departments.
Always Focus on Grades. This will come as no surprise, but good grades are the #1 priority of a strong academic profile. Making the leap from middle to high school may be intimidating to some students. To ease the stress, some incoming freshmen take the “wait and see” approach, choosing to take it easy at first and ramp up their efforts later in their high school careers.
Taking it easy early can make a huge, negative impact on academic profiles.
As with most endeavors, It’s important to start off strong academically and continue throughout high school. Anything below a ‘C’ in any subject could be a red flag for college admissions.
That being said, at Lutheran High, we understand that not all students are straight A students. Focusing on grades doesn’t mean only getting As or even Bs. It means students work toward their strengths and do their best. When possible, taking honors classes in strong subjects while taking basic classes in weaker subjects can demonstrate to college admissions that students put forth their best effort and maximize their strengths. What’s important is that students understand the importance of their grades and work hard. That is always a formula for success!
Put in the Work for Solid Test Scores. There’s a reason so much effort is put into test preparation: Test scores still matter. Colleges often prioritize students whose academic profiles include impressive test scores. The SAT and ACT are two tests we think of most when talking about academic profiles and impact on college acceptance. Typically taken during their junior year, students can begin preparation for these tests as freshmen.
Many high schools, including Lutheran High, encourage test preparation and even taking practice SAT and ACT tests during both freshmen and sophomore years — although it is critical to take practice tests as juniors. They literally prepare students for the act of taking those tests, and make them comfortable with question presentation. An unheralded benefit of practice SAT and ACT tests is their impact on time management. Ensuring students have plenty of time to put forth their best effort is a major component of successfully completing your SAT and ACT.
Lock in as Juniors. Junior year is when things really come together for academic profiles. Freshman and sophomore years are critical to the foundation of academic profiles, but junior year is when students should “dial it up to 11” for sure. Every school may be different, but here is how LuHi students tighten up strong academic profiles during their junior year:
- Preparation for and completion of the SAT and ACT (as mentioned above)
- Meet a minimum of four times with their college advisor to assess academic performance and identify any areas or needs that need to be addressed
- Start requesting letters of recommendation to accompany college applications
- Visit final college and university choices
- Personality and career tests help students decide on an academic path for college
- Building their high school portfolio in Naviance
At LuHi, we are committed to the academic success of our students. When your child attends LuHi, he or she becomes a part of our family. Our teachers, coaches and administrators know all our students by name, and care about their success. LuHi will nurture academic excellence in your child.
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