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.

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. Yesterday, there was a very thoughtful article published in Forbes, explaining the School Profile and the role it plays. The author recommends that students ask for a copy of the School Profile, along with their transcript, to 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 check out your School Profile, and then compare it with your transcript, 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, read the Forbes article here.