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Will My High School's Low Rating Affect My College Chances?

By Robin Levinson, Consulting Educator


I am currently a junior at a Long Beach, California, high school, and I was wondering since my high school rating is at the basic average, will that affect me when I apply? Also, I would like to go to a European college for fashion design, but it requires that I go to a college in the United States first. So would it be better for me to go to a fashion college here first or a community college? If I go to a fashion school, I was thinking of attending New York Fashion College. Also, what high school course would you recommend for me to take? My counselor said I was OK for requirements, but I do not think so. Right now I am taking art 3-4, and next year I will be taking art 5-6 along with AP art history. As for my other classes, they are basic classes and JROTC.


There are many aspects of your student profile that affect your college-admission chances. Your academic record and school profile are just two. When a high school has an average rating, that means that on average its students perform no better and no worse than the typical American high school student on standardized tests and college admittance. If you have consistently performed above average, your scores will not be weighted differently. However, if your fellow classmates are typically mediocre students, your above-average record could look inflated compared with the rest of your class.

The other thing to consider with school profiles is how individual colleges look at your school. This is not always easily determined from a school rating. Certain schools, especially private schools, may have long-standing relationships with colleges. This is often in part due to the expected caliber of applicants from that high school. If your school is not known for having high-quality students, chances are it won't hurt you in your college admissions, but it won't help either.

I think you may be misinformed about fashion schools in Europe. There are many that offer admittance straight from high school. You could be confusing the term college in American English with its use abroad. In England and other parts of Europe, often the term refers to the equivalent of a U.S. high school. The Paris American Academy, which has an excellent fashion school, does not require you to have a college degree.

If you are certain that the schools you are interested in do require a college degree, you might prefer a community college over a fashion school in the United States. If you go to a U.S. fashion school and then transfer abroad, you may have to repeat the same courses. Going to a community college will allow you to get the required liberal arts courses out of the way before you study fashion in Europe. You might also consider getting your degree from a U.S. fashion school that allows you to study abroad. Search for U.S. colleges in fashion hot spots, like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, that offer excellent study-abroad options. You could wind up with the best of both worlds.

When applying to specific programs like fashion, it is often more important that you have training and experience in that area than to be well-rounded. Taking AP art history is an excellent choice, as is sticking with art through senior year. Start building a portfolio of fashion sketches now so that when application time comes around, you will have something to show for all your hard work.

Robin Levinson is the content editor for CampusCompare, a Web site that helps college-bound students find the right school.

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