Sometimes in working on the details of the college admissions process, we forget the big picture. With SAT and ACT scores, extracurriculars, class rank, letters of recommendation, and so many other factors, it is easy to loose sight of which factors are most important.

One element of the college application is more important than the rest. Can you guess what it is? (My podcast co-host Gretchen guessed wrong—and she works in education!)

The most important factor for college admission is a student’s high school transcript—that list of grades and courses that forms the basis for other factors such as class rank and GPA.

Yes, colleges consider a number of elements in their applications. These other factors can be important, but they all carry less weight than the student’s high school transcript.

In a recent episode of The College Prep Podcast I explained why the transcript is so important and what you can do to improve yours.

Listen to this episode to find:

  • Some common misunderstandings about what colleges think is most important
  • The core classes you need on your transcript
  • How grades are evaluated
  • Whether high school classes taken in middle school count
  • How to decide which electives to cut (if needed)
  • How to think about advanced level classes
  • Ways to pursue and develop your passion without getting in the way of core classes
  • And more!

Listen to the full episode here: (click here to play)



You can also find The College Prep Podcast on popular platforms such as