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How Do Colleges Evaluate Transcripts?


We have previously written about how colleges evaluate high school transcripts, but how do you find out details about the evaluative process your transcript will go through?  Simple.  You don’t know unless you ask!
As mentioned in the above  post, it is impossible for colleges to compare all high school transcripts as “the same”.  With that said, be cautious of viewing the “average GPA” of admitted students that colleges post with their admission statistics.  You may have a GPA way above the average, but have not taken one AP course at a school that offers 20.  Or you may have a GPA slightly below the average, but have taken a reasonably challenging curriculum based on the number of AP or Honors level courses that are available to you.
But how do you compare to other students if your school does not offer any AP or honors level courses?  What if you transferred schools and were not able to take all of the challenging courses you wanted to?  Whatever you situation, you should research how colleges review transcripts in their admissions process.  Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do they count the number of AP and Honors level course that you take?
  • How do they view the IB program?
  • How would they handle a school that does not offer AP or Honors level courses?
  • How will they compare your transcript to other students?
  • Do they recalculate your GPA? (Meaning will they only look at your grades in certain courses.)
  • Do they only look at your GPA through junior year?
  • Will they ask for senior year mid-quarter (if applying early) or mid-semester (if applying regular) grades?
  • Which courses are the most significant in the evaluation process?

Every college is going to have a different process, so finding out the details is important!
Katherine Price
Educational Consultant


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