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Episode 20: Academic Rigor: Which High School Classes Should I Choose?

July 12, 2021

By now you know that so many things go into a university’s decision of whether to admit someone.

They might look at extracurriculars, essays, letters of recommendation, demonstrated interest, test scores (if you submit them and the school isn't test-optional), and, of course, grades.

But higher-ed institutions don't just take a surface-level view of those A's, B's and C's. They look closer to see just how difficult the classes were — something called academic rigor.

That can bring up a lot of questions, like: Is it better to get an A in a standard class or a B in an honors one? Will a student be penalized if their school doesn't offer advanced classes? And what about prerequisites — classes that you must take in high school to be even considered by certain schools?

In this episode of College Admissions Insider, we untangle all those questions and more. Our guest is Jill Medina, Bucknell's senior associate dean of Admissions. Jill has worked in higher education for more than 25 years, including 17 years in selective college admissions.

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Episode 20 Transcript