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The Academic Review: Curriculum

The review of your high school transcript starts with your curriculum. What courses have you chosen to take during your high school career?

Ideally, we are looking for four years of the five core academic subject areas: English, Math, Science, History (or Social Science), and Foreign Language. We are also looking for students who have taken on a level of appropriate academic challenge during high school, taking advantage of advanced level (Honors, AP, IB, college-level) courses when available.

Remember, we are talking about “appropriate challenge,” which doesn’t mean that a student has to take every AP or Honors course that his or her high school offers to be a competitive candidate. For example, if you are not a strong math student, we certainly understand why you don’t have AP Calculus BC on your transcript. However, if you want to be a math major, we will want to see the most demanding schedule of math courses that you can take in your particular high school environment.

We will always consider the strength of your curriculum in within the context of your high school. We certainly will not penalize you for not taking a course that your high school doesn’t offer. (There’s a triple negative for you in that sentence… but you get what I’m trying to say, right? If your high school doesn’t offer an AP Spanish class, we obviously won’t expect AP Spanish to be on your transcript!). Along with your transcript, your high school has sent us a profile, which helps us to understand your high school’s academic environment and the opportunities available to you to take advanced courses. Generally speaking, most students who are invited to PC have taken on an Honors-level curriculum over their high school careers, and have shown strong performance in those courses.

More to come on the academic review, as we’ll talk about how we consider your academic performance (your grades!) hand-in-hand with the curriculum that you have taken. In addition, we’ll move beyond the academic information and take an in-depth look at how we handle your extracurricular activities, leadership roles, essays, and recommendations during the review process. As always, stay tuned!

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