By the time you start thinking about college, you're probably already wondering where you can get in and what it will take. So we asked these questions to admissions officers at three different types of colleges and universities in Maryland. Whether you're thinking about a mid-sized private university like Johns Hopkins, a large public university such as Towson or a small private college like Villa Julie ... here is the scoop.
Q: Are GPAs and SAT scores as important in admissions decisions as people think they are?
John Latting, director of undergraduate admissions, The Johns Hopkins University: Decisions are based on a lot of things. However, grades and SAT scores help us answer two questions we consider for each student:
How would the student benefit from being here?
How would the student be part of the community?
Tim Wolf, assistant director of admissions, Towson University: At Towson, SAT scores are not as important as people think. We use them in the admissions process, but a student’s GPA is much more important. We believe that students who have a good high school GPA will be more likely to graduate from Towson. Because some of those students do not test well, we are flexible with their SAT scores.
Martha O’Connell, vice president for enrollment, McDaniel College: The most important things to us are students’ GPAs and whether they took difficult courses in high school. Tests such as the SAT are less important, and therefore, students who are in the top 10 percent of their class or have at least a 3.5 GPA can choose whether to send us their SAT scores.
Q: What makes a good high school transcript, and how do you balance the importance of taking hard courses and getting good grades?
Latting: The transcript is the most important part of the application. It tells us whether the student has taken the hardest courses possible. We look for difficult courses on students’ transcripts because those students will do better in difficult courses at Hopkins.
Wolf: Towson looks for students who have honors and AP (Advanced Placement) courses on their transcript. For those students, we see their GPA as higher than the same GPA from a student who has taken just regular courses.
O’Connell: We look for changes to see if students’ grades improved after they got used to high school. Also, if there is a sudden drop in grades for some reason, we expect an explanation.