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Congratulations! Graduating from high school is an important milestone in your life and you should feel proud in your ability to do so. So, what’s next? College? Trade school? Whichever path you choose, you will have to get all of your ducks in a row when it comes to submitting all of your application materials in full and on time.

At the top of your admissions materials is your high school transcripts. While you are getting ready to graduate, verifying the information on your transcripts when you start and when you end your senior year will ensure that you are on the right track to graduation. Included in your transcripts are your high school grades, classes, and overall GPA. This document will be one of the first, if not the first, piece of information that college admissions will review. It shows potential colleges how prepared you are to attend their institution.

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When you are getting ready to graduate, request a copy of your transcripts from your high school counselor or registrar’s office. Be sure that every class is accounted for and that it shows whatever grade you received in the class. After ensuring everything is accounted for, calculate your GPA with a calculator to make sure the number on your transcripts is correct. You can also compare your GPA with your desired schools to see how you match up.

So, how do college admissions officers evaluate your transcripts?

The weight of each individual thing on your transcripts can vary depending on what you are majoring in and what college you are applying to. In general, they will look at these factors:

  • Grade point average (GPA) and class rank
  • What classes you took in high school, including your AP/IB classes
  • Consistency in GPA through grading periods and cumulative GPA
  • Which, if any, classes were pass/fail
  • Your behavior record (if included)

All of these factors combine to give the college a good idea of what kind of student you are and if you will be successful.

Remember, if you have any questions about your transcripts, the college application process, potential careers, and anything about your future in general, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak with your school’s guidance counselor. They want to see you succeed and will be able to answer all of your questions in an unbiased fashion.

Read more about college admissions at Peterson’s.