The Secondary School Report - What Do Admissions Officers Look For?
The Secondary School Report (SSR) is a packet of information that provides a plethora of information to admissions officers. The parts of the SSR include the following:
Guidance Counselor (GC) character chart
Guidance Counselor Letter of recommendation
Class Rank or Percentile and the Number of Students that share that Rank or Percentile
Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) and the Number of Students that share that same GPA
Transcript (freshmen through junior year)
The School profile provides a snapshot of your school’s academic and extracurricular prowess. This is where the admissions officer can tell whether or not you took the most rigorous classes; which APs were available to you and what your peers and alumni from your schools have accomplished.
The transcript delineates your course rigor, your earned grades and most importantly, the grade trend. What I mean by grade trend is the answer to the following questions: by core class, are you a consistent A student? B student?
Your GPA allows the admissions officer to know what you have done in the context of your school’s academic environment. They focus on transitional areas, such as entering freshmen year: did you have a seamless transition from junior high or entering junior year, how was your transition to taking AP or IB courses? Your GPA and how many students share that same GPA allows the admissions office to note if there is any grade inflation or deflation. The same goes with your class rank, if there are many students who share that same rank, it begs the question: “How are students unique?”
The GC checks off about your character, if there has any been any misconduct, and writes a letter describing who you are in terms of his/her perspective. Many times the GC has an unreasonable load of students and cannot spend the time necessary to provide a thorough and informative letter about you and so it is important to make sure the little s/he does say is meaningful and impactful!