Why Is a School Profile Crucial to Your Application?
For those of you who are looking to get a head start on your college applications, start by organising some generic documents. One such document is a school profile, which may be required by many colleges. Prepared and submitted by your school counsellor, or another faculty member, such as your principal or academic coordinator, this two-page document, printed on both sides of an A4 sheet of non-glossy paper in dark ink, gives admissions officers (AOs) a snapshot of your school. But why is it important and what should your counsellor include in it? Read on to find out more!
Why is a school profile important?
AOs at many colleges consider the school profile crucial to the admissions process as it provides them with some contextual information about your school and the systems it follows, giving them an idea of where and how you have been educated. This helps them interpret and understand your academic accomplishments so that they can evaluate you fairly in relation to your peers.
What goes into a school profile?
Usually, the school profile contains information about the student body, facilities available, grade comparisons and college acceptances, among others. The main categories are:
- Basic information – In either the header or the footer, details like the school name, address, phone and fax numbers and website address should be included. Also, add the names and contact details of the principal and all counsellors. Directions to the school, preferred days and times for college visits and the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) code, UCAS Code or IB code can also be mentioned.
- Background information – The school profile should contain a paragraph about the school, when it was founded, a brief mention of vision and mission and admission guidelines.
- Demographic information – This subhead should have a description of the student body and the community in which the school is located, along with information about the socioeconomic and ethnic mix. It can also touch upon the education level of parents, major employers, financial profile of the students, the percentage of scholarship attendees and any other features of interest.
- Curriculum – What type of curriculum does the school offer? What are the academic policies? What are the academic subjects/courses the school offers? Is the curriculum rigorous? What is the number of courses a student can choose? Have there been any changes to the curriculum? These questions should be addressed here.
- Grading – The grading scale, whether grades are weighted, the scale and the competitiveness of the student body; all of this needs to be included in the school profile as this helps AOs know the value of grades and helps them understand you and your performances within the curriculum better. If your school ranks students, then information about this should be a part of this section. Details about the graduating class grades/averages and how alumni have performed should also be mentioned. It also should highlight any changes to any grading and ranking policies, if these are recent.
- Standardised test scores – Your school needs to report on the distribution and ranges of SAT/ACT/SAT subject tests, how many students took these test out of the entire class and what was the average test score received by these students. If students do not take these exams, then information on exams such as JEE, CET, CLAT, NEET or other entrance exams can be mentioned.
- Student engagement – The document also needs to provide an overview of all the extracurricular and co-curricular activities offered at your school. This section can also include clubs and other organisations as well.
- Unique elements – If your school has any accreditation, institutional memberships, and special recognition and honours, then details about this should be incorporated here.
- Acceptances and matriculations – The school profile can also include institutions where previous students have been admitted to and should even include those where students have been admitted but have not enrolled.
- Discipline policies of the school – It is also helpful to AOs to understand what issues the school reports and what it doesn’t report.
What makes an impactful profile?
AOs go through hundreds of thousands of applications each year. As such, your school profile needs to accurately portray the uniqueness of your school in a clear and concise manner. Try to make the information as visual as possible by using graphs and charts. Remember, the school profile is not a marketing document, so it needs to be different from the school admissions brochure and needs to provide context so that the AOs can determine how your results compare to the rest of the school.
While the school profile isn’t a mandatory document, it is beneficial to include this as part of your application. If your school doesn’t have a profile, you can ask your school counsellor to create this with as much information that they have; it may not be as elaborate, but can touch upon important aspects of your school in a tabular form. If you need help on other parts of the US admissions process, read about the letters of recommendations here and essay writing tips here. If you have any other questions, get in touch with us.