high school

What Colleges Look for in High School Student Transcripts

Because college admissions are more competitive than ever, an accepted application often comes down to the details. For instance, high school transcripts are an excellent way for students to positively differentiate themselves from other applicants. But what exactly are colleges looking for in a transcript, other than good grades?

·       It’s All About Balance

You and your student should consider a holistic approach to course selection. While your child may favor history courses over science, his or her transcript should display a willingness to explore and master a range of disciplines. Not only does a balanced transcript indicate broad academic capability, it also demonstrates a willingness to be challenged. Students with specialized academic talents should feel free to explore their favorite subjects, just not at the expense of a balanced academic course load.

·       Consider the Context

In addition to GPA and course selection, admissions committees also consider the curriculum offered by a student’s high school. If your student’s high school offers a wide range of AP or IB courses, he or she should take advantage of the most challenging courses available. However, different schools require and offer different courses, and students applying to college will have their transcripts assessed with access in mind.

·       Keep Rigor in Mind

Just as balance is important in course selection, level of difficulty is also a key component in a competitive high school transcript. Succeeding in rigorous, high-level courses—from upper division math and language classes, to AP and IB courses—clearly conveys a student’s readiness for college, as well as his or her ability to manage and prepare for a challenge; both are attributes that college admission committees seek.

·       Stay Consistent

College admission committees like to see students ascend the ranks of a discipline, so be sure that your student follows through on math, science, English, and history courses from freshman year through senior year, graduating to a higher level of difficulty as he or she goes. Also keep in mind that colleges use transcripts to confirm a student’s track record through senior year, so don’t let your child coast along in the home stretch—his or her transcript will show it. At Achieve Academics, we understand the demanding, detail-oriented nature of college admissions. From prepping for the SAT/ACT to brushing up on academic basics, we provide a range of small group classes, plus one-on-one tutoring, to ensure that your child demonstrates his or her strongest self when it’s time to apply to college. As you and your child work to sure up his or her transcript and course selections, keep in mind that you don’t have to do it all alone—we offer strategic, tailor-made academic resources for students of all learning styles and goals. 

The Power of Good Grades

Photo Credit: Bigstock.com

Photo Credit: Bigstock.com

Getting good grades means more than just preparing students for college. A strong GPA imparts countless other positive benefits that prove valuable to students, in both their academic lives and beyond. Garnering high marks in school certainly positions students well for college, and of course, that’s one of the most important reasons to maintain a competitive GPA. But, let’s consider some of the additional benefits that students with good grades can enjoy:


1.     Good Grades Boost Confidence

When students work hard and receive good grades for their efforts, it not only results in an enviable GPA, it also means that students witness the fruits of their labor. After enacting discipline and diligence to earn an A, students enjoy a well-deserved confidence boost that will carry over into the next chapter or ensuing course. Good grades have the power to craft a more capable, confident, and proactive student who is unafraid of a challenge.

2.     Good Grades Let Students Do What They Want to Do

Sure, good grades are ingredient number one when it comes to applying to college, but they also set students on the right path toward their ultimate career field. While it can be challenging to envision the long-term returns of a high GPA, encourage your student to imagine himself or herself in a dream career, and then recognize that good grades are an essential step in achieving that goal. Lay the foundation now, and your student’s future self will be grateful.

3.     Good Grades Develop Lifelong Positive Habits

It takes self-discipline to earn good grades, and by putting in the work during school, students are also preparing themselves for college-level courses and eventually, a career. By forming good habits and routines in order to achieve high marks, students work as their own advocates, instilling within themselves the power to take on a difficult goal and achieve it. By steadily earning good grades throughout school, students will arrive at college with an already established framework to tackle future challenges.

4.     Good Grades Lead to Scholarships

College admissions are more competitive than ever, so it’s no wonder that GPAs are emphasized as a way for students to prove to universities that they are dedicated to their studies. But what’s more, good grades also lead to scholarship opportunities, which not only make college a more feasible financial undertaking, but also work well on a future resume, where recognition for scholastic achievement demonstrates much about a person’s work ethic and character.


At Achieve Academics, we provide a range of one-on-one tutoring services and small group classes for students of all learning styles, needs, and focuses. Whether prepping for the SAT, ACT, an AP exam, or if students are seeking to elevate their GPA and double-down on schoolwork, we provide the environment and resources necessary for students to fully engage with their academic goals. At Achieve Academics, we understand what’s necessary for a student to achieve success, and we’ll be there every step of the way.