An (often) Overlooked Part of College Applications

Applying to College, Building Your College List, Miscellaneous

As a college applicant, you will probably spend hours pouring over your essays and your apps, making lists of requirements and deadlines and studying diligently for tests. After all, you want to make sure everything you present to the colleges is as strong as it can be.

But did you know that there is one important component of your application that you actually have no control over? Something that is often scrutinized by college admissions officers before they decide whether to admit you? I’m not talking about the teacher recommendations – most students already know they may never get a chance to read what their teachers say about them.

I’m talking about a lesser known item called a School Profile. This is a 1-2 page document put together by your high school. The School Profile will be sent to most colleges you apply to. It is designed to give context to a student’s transcript, with details about the available courses and overall academic performance of students at the school. Interestingly, the School Profile could impact the way admissions officers view your academic record, because it helps them understand how you “stack up” against your classmates (many of whom are likely applying to the same colleges as you!)

When I was a school-based college advisor, I created and sent out the School Profile, but students or parents never asked to see it. Since it’s a part of your college applications, it is worthwhile to look at your School Profile, alongside your transcript, and see if the information included is clear and informative. While I don’t suggest that you begin harassing your poor school counselor, I do think it’s a great idea to get a sense of the context in which your academic record will be evaluated. This can help you better understand where you stand as an applicant as you build your college list.

To learn more about School Profiles and the role they play in admissions, check out this article on Forbes.