Ugh, please no more school
Well that is just what I am proposing for those, who have no job or options for the summer. I have seen some subtle trends in college admissions in the past few years regarding grades, scores, etc. Since grade inflation ran rather rampant in the past decade for many schools, the volume of “ALL A or Straight A” students has eclipsed normal curves; to say that many high schools are “top heavy” is an understatement. There are even some small schools where no students are less than A. This seems fairly ridiculous to most, and colleges are quite replete with intelligent and savvy people.
So what makes a student stand out if scores and grades are all so inflated? Well, the rigor of coursework is usually what many of the higher tiered schools look to see. So AP or IB Program work is what makes a student look more capable, qualified, and willing to challenge him or/ herself and rise to the top. So, academic rigor is always something that makes a candidate stand out.
But even with this, there are few wrinkles! Some, many actually, smaller private and public schools do not offer these courses because of lack or qualified or trained teachers or for other reasons. So how do these students get the “right stuff” to get admitted? And some schools only have a few optional courses in Advanced Placement or Honors, and these schools use a selection process that typically uses cumulative GPA by Sophomore Spring and the Sophomore PSAT score. Sometimes, students are unaware of this selection process and are rejected without truly understanding why they could not get into the higher level courses. This is often a challenge for many who aspire to some schools that have a tacit rule about how many AP courses they like to see on a transcript of the typical accepted applicant.
In the last decade, frustrated parents and some complicit schools have created interesting ways to get students some higher courses in a very non-traditional way. Parents of some private schools, mostly, have their perfectly qualified student repeat either sophomore or junior year. The student does not need to repeat the year at all, as the student passed with flying colors. However, by allowing this, the student now gets into other courses, such as AP level that he/she could not get into the first time they were a sophomore or junior. They have a loaded transcript. Years before, there was a way through what is known as a PG year (post graduate), where students who did not get into the schools they wanted, took another year after graduating, usually at a boarding school. They would load that year with AP courses and such in order to qualify for a better college or improve a sagging GPA from their first four years of high school. Colleges began to notice that these PG students were overloaded with students who had issues or were athletes that were not recruited for a sport. The PG year began to lose its luster because it became known as a dumping ground for poor students. So it lost a lot of favor with admissions departments. The repeat year is also now looked upon with suspicious intent as the student had no reason, academically speaking, to repeat a year in school. The loading of the transcript in such a way looks like circumventing the process to make someone not as qualified look as competitive. Many colleges have become less than impressed with this transcript.
What to do?
Well, believe it or not, going to summer school is still a very acceptable way to gain credits and advance. Students can take a course or two during a summer session to add to a transcript or improve a GPA. Some can even take an actual college course and get credit for it. Students do not have to go to a seriously expensive Ivy League school, but merely a qualified and accredited local community college. It is amazingly impressive to see a student actually get a leg up on college by taking a college level class. If you can’t get into those AP courses, you can go to a local college and get college credit. You could do entry level math or calculus or writing, and you could then actually see if they can be applied to the college you do eventually choose, and you are automatically out of a required course!
Summer school is a great option for many. Even regular high school summer school in your community. If you go to a private school, you can even attend your own local public high school during the summer. You could walk away with some great new knowledge and skills, and perhaps, you might even make some new friends. If you do not know how to computer code, go to school and learn it during the summer. I think all students in this day and age should at least have an introduction to coding because it truly makes sense to understand how to navigate in the digital world. Or take a class in setting up a website or website design or another language or an advanced level math or writing class. There are so many options for you to add to your transcript with impressive electives or choices you cannot fit during the regular school year.
Another plus is that summer school is fun! Yes, fun. It is far more relaxed. The intensity is a bit more because the classes are longer; you cover an entire semester or year in a few weeks. But the concentration can help you earn a good grade because you will not forget what you are learning at such a fast pace. So even if you have a nice community service option and a week or two of vacation set up, you still have time to add a class in summer school. ACT NOW! Registration is out for most community colleges. Any questions, need to brainstorm how to package yourself better for college? Contact us!