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counsellor "most rigorous" category

socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hello
Many times on this forum, I have read that students need to have their counsellor check the box on "the most rigorous course load" compared to their peers if they wish to apply to top institutions. Ok, now this might be a silly question, but is there *literally* a box that a counsellor checks that says this on a form letter ? Or does the counsellor mention it in narrative form when she is describing the student?

I ask because my junior year student now has her third counsellor in as many years. Her counsellor this year is fresh on the job. And when I asked her about whether my daughter's course load to date qualified for the "most rigorous" qualification, she didn't seem to have a clue what I was talking about. She simply assured me that her courses were among the most rigorous offered because they were AP courses, and that she was on track for her college applications.

TIA
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Replies to: counsellor "most rigorous" category

  • skieuropeskieurope 38922 replies6877 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Ok, now this might be a silly question, but is there *literally* a box that a counsellor checks that says this on a form letter ?
    Yes. There is literally a box, on the Common App anyway.
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks so much, skieurope!
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  • 3kids2dogs3kids2dogs 111 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yes, I believe there is. It’s on the counselor portion of the Common App for sure and though I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, I believe it is also on the counselor portion of the Coalition App too.
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Oh, well. Looks like I'll have to inform the counselor about it, unless she is simply dodging my question!
    Thanks so much!
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  • elena13elena13 848 replies15 threadsRegistered User Member
    If the counselor is that new and does not know much about the Common App, you may need to tell her that there is a box to check and that it would help the student with admissions if she is applying to selective colleges. My S19 had a new counselor for senior year who didn't know him (not new to the school just to him). Since the school is so large and they don't have many kids applying to selective and/or private colleges, I had to be specific about what was needed from her and when.
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you Elena. Definitely have to self-advocate with these large institutions and over-stretched counselors!
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  • Cof22momCof22mom 63 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I asked my D21’s counselor the same question (also prompted by posts on CC). She explained that there is a multiple-choice question on the Secondary School Report. However counselors at our HS do not answer it. Instead they address a student's course rigor through the narrative letter. Plus the colleges will use the HS profile and the student transcript to look at the student's rigor in the context of the HS.
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 21
    Cof22mom wrote: »
    I asked my D21’s counselor the same question (also prompted by posts on CC). She explained that there is a multiple-choice question on the Secondary School Report. However counselors at our HS do not answer it. Instead they address a student's course rigor through the narrative letter. Plus the colleges will use the HS profile and the student transcript to look at the student's rigor in the context of the HS.

    Oh, that's interesting, cof22mom. I wonder if that is also the case with our school.
    It is a terrible time to be trying to get answers from the counselors -- they are slammed. Every year I wish more that my dd had agreed to go to a private school so we wouldn't have to advocate/find out any scrap of info ourselves.
    edited August 21
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77784 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    https://admissions.duke.edu/images/uploads/School_Report.pdf is a PDF version of The Common Application counselor report.

    It includes the following question:
    In comparison with other college preparatory students at your school, the applicant’s course selection is:
    ☐ less than demanding
    ☐ average demanding
    ☐ very demanding
    ☐ most demanding
    ☐ prefer not to respond

    It also has ratings for "Academic achievement", "Extracurricular accomplishments", "Personal qualities and character", and "OVERALL", where the choices are "Below average", "Average", "Good (above average)", "Very good (well above average)", "Excellent (top 10%)", "Outstanding (top 5%)", "One of the top few I've encountered (top 1%)". Obviously, a counselor report with ratings in the highest categories is more helpful, particularly at the most selective colleges.

    And then there is the last question:
    I recommend this student: ☐ No basis ☐ Fairly strongly ☐ Strongly ☐ Enthusiastically

    For the most selective colleges, obviously you want your counselor to recommend you "Enthusiastically".
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Many thanks for that, UCbalumnus.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3721 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The common app, it ain't so common.
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  • daffodilpetuniadaffodilpetunia 256 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    >I ask because my junior year student now has her third counsellor in as many years. Her counsellor this year is fresh on the job.

    My kids had this same issue at our large public high school - new counselors frequently. However, the control of the school report and the infamous "box" was done by the college counselor, not the academic counselors who help with the schedules.
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That is interesting, daffodilpetunia and thumper1. We actually do have a dedicated college counselor though I don't think my daughter has ever darkened her door! Maybe this is the confusion and her GC doesn't fill out the form. Good to know as we are meeting with her next week.
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  • KimV2015KimV2015 68 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I remember asking our daughter's GC (large public hs) a few years ago, and her answer was specifically 7+ APs. There may be a set criteria.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 38922 replies6877 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    KimV2015 wrote: »
    I remember asking our daughter's GC (large public hs) a few years ago, and her answer was specifically 7+ APs. There may be a set criteria.

    Which will vary by HS
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  • thumper1thumper1 74357 replies3254 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @KimV2015

    The “rigor” of YOUR kid’s HS might have been 7 AP courses. BUT the strength of the rigor is determined based on what each kid’s high school actually offers. Some high schools do not have 7 AP courses, or there are limits scheduling wise on how many a student can actually take.

    So...just because it was “7 APs” at one HS does not mean that is the standard for all high schools.

    My kids each took two AP courses, and both had “most rigorous” checked on their applications. Because for their high school...at the time...and the rest of their schedule...their schedules were deemed “most rigorous”.
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 22
    Interesting Thumper1 and KimV2015. Whatever the "secret sauce" is, if there is one, I would like to know what it is. Our school has 15 APs and my daughter if all goes to plan will have taken 8 at most, 7 at min by the time she graduates. This is on par with or better than all except three of her fellow students (class of 300). These three are on track to have one or two more.
    edited August 22
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7000 replies50 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What I've learned here on CC is that some schools are very transparent about what it takes to get the "most rigorous" check mark, and some that aren't.

    D's school had college counselors that disclosed specifics about rigor levels at our junior year meeting. Which really was too late for many students because the school was very strict about sequencing for honors/AP tracks. That said, when my D had a major scheduling challenge junior year, the academic dean intervened to be sure that she could substitute with the correct rigor. She was one of only 5 or 6 that got the "most rigorous" check box. I know at other area schools, 20% or more of the class got that checked off.

    Totally, totally school dependent.
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  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 143 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'd ask the counselor what is the process for college recommendations and then ask if your child's plan is enough to check "most rigorous" or do they need to add a class. The counselor might not want to tell you a hard line, but they will tell you where you currently stand.
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