Your Academic Record is not just your G.P.A.!
Selective colleges, particularly those in the United States, view many different aspects of an applicant’s academic record before coming to final decision on whether or not to accept that applicant. Colleges do not simply look at the applicant’s high school G.P.A. (Grade Point Average), since every high school in the United States is a little different and some are more highly regarded than others. Also, colleges will usually only look at your GPA for the classes that they consider to be part of a “core curriculum.” This means, that you can improve the quality of your academic record not only by studying hard in your classes, but by choosing courses that will be attractive to a college.
Take “Core Courses!”
Colleges want to know that you have had basic instruction in what is called a core curriculum of language arts, mathematics, science, and social science, as well as a foreign language. So, your academic record should indicate that you have taken four years of English/language arts, three to four years of mathematics, two to three years of science, two to three years of social science (such as history or social studies), and at least two years of a foreign language (though three or four years is even better).
Enroll in AP (Advanced Placement) Courses to get a head start!
Fairly good grades in a difficult course will be considered more attractive than perfect grades in a low-level or remedial course. Many high schools offer what are called A.P. (Advanced Placement) courses in a variety of academic subjects. If you are eligible to take AP courses, then you should take them. These courses are intended to prepare high school students to start doing college-level academic work. At the end of your AP class you will take an AP exam on the subject. A score of 4 or 5 on an AP exam is a good sign that you are ready to do work in a competitive academic environment.
Enroll in International Baccalaureate Courses if they are available
In some European school systems, AP courses may not be available, in which case you may be able to take International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. These courses also teach students college-level material, and involve a standardized examination at the end of the course. These courses also show that you doing work at a higher academic level and will be prepared for studying in a university environment.