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College and Career


How Do Colleges Choose Among Applicants?

When colleges evaluate applicants they look at the following, which are ranked in order of importance:

  • High school academic record (courses taken, grades, and rank)
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Essays
  • Recommendation for personality and character
  • Special abilities (art, music, athletics, leadership)
  • Service to school and community
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Interview (if required)
  • Neatness and accuracy of the application

Most colleges only consider academic courses when calculating grade point averages, thus excluding grades from the fine arts, physical education, etc. In most cases the recalculated GPA will be lower than the one stated on your report card.


Form a list of possible schools. Think in terms of three categories: reach schools, range schools, and safety schools. A “reach” school might be one that is a dream school, but to which you have a slim chance of being admitted or being able to afford. A “range” school is one that you have a 50/50 chance of being admitted and could reasonably handle financially. A “safety” school would be a school where you should definitely expect to be accepted and that you could afford with little or no financial assistance.

  • REACH SCHOOLS (I might be accepted)__________________________________________
  • RANGE SCHOOLS (I should be accepted)_________________________________________
  • SAFETY SCHOOLS (I will be accepted)___________________________________________
Important Links:
GA Futures
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
College Board (SAT)
Scholarship Search