College Admissions: A Varied Field
As you begin your college search, understand from the outset that you are not going to find a single set of common answers to questions about how college admission works.
Some colleges place great weight on personal interviews. Others do not. Some colleges treat the SAT I score as a combined score. Others treat the subject scores separately. And some colleges either do not require SATs or make them optional.
Some colleges read as a group all of the applications from the same school or the geographical location. Others simply read randomly across the entire applicant pool. Some use the Common Application. Some do not.
You may find such variations frustrating in at least two ways. First, it means that you will have to treat each college (and each application) individually. Second, a given college’s practice with regard to how it treats a student’s transcript, test scores, activities, and/or responses to its application questions, and so forth, may not accord with your preference in such matters. (For example, if you have lackluster grades and a stellar SAT score, you would prefer that the colleges to which you are applying heavily weight the SAT score and downplay the importance of high school grades. Your preference, however, may not sync with reality.) My advice is simply to roll with the differences, especially since there isn’t anything you can do about them anyway.