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Published April 4th, 2018
How well is your high school preparing your student for college success?
Elizabeth LaScala, PhD, brings decades of admissions expertise to personally guide each student through applying to well-matched colleges, making each step more manageable and less stressful. She has placed hundreds of students in the most prestigious colleges and universities in the U.S. Reach her at (925) 385-0562 (office) or (925) 330-8801 (mobile), or online at www.doingcollege.com or Elizabeth@doingcollege.com.

We all know that seats in the freshman classes at the University of California campuses are in more demand than ever. We have one of the best and most selective state university systems in the U.S. Parents deserve to know if their local high schools will effectively prepare their children for admission to one or more of its university campuses. They deserve to know that information quickly and easily. This article explains where to find some of the most basic information for your high school.
Admissions are more competitive than ever, partly because there are more competitive applicants than ever before. According to EdSource, a nonpartisan, nonprofit resource on K-12 and higher education in California, there has been a massive increase in the numbers and percentages of students meeting A-G Coursework requirements needed for admission to the University of California and California State University systems (https://www.ucop.edu/agguide/a-g-requirements/). Over the last five years EdSource reports that the number of A-G eligible applicants has increased by 28 percent.
Fulfilling A-G requirements is just a start to building a strong academic profile for college admissions, but it helps to know if your local public and private high schools have had success in guiding students to complete these minimal requirements. To learn how to use School Dashboard and find out how your high school performs on this measure of college readiness, read on!
Last month, the California Department of Education launched a School Dashboard. The Dashboard is intended to present parents and policy makers with more and better measures of educational quality in a user-friendly format. The Dashboard placed College and Career Preparation front and center as a measure for all students. But it did not make A-G information easy to find. This is a major flaw in the system, considering how UC and CSU campuses are among the target schools for many college-bound students and their families. This article is intended to help you find that information for your high school, or high schools you may be researching for your student.
First, go to California School Dashboard Home Page (https://www.caschooldashboard.org/#/Home). Enter the name of your school, and then press the 'Search' button. After you see your search results, choose your school. You'll come to a home page with four tabs (Equity Report, Status and Change Report, Detailed Report and Student Group Report). Now here's the tricky part. You must take a different path to find out how well your high school prepares its students to meet the required A-G requirements.
Click the tab 'Detailed Report.' You'll see a one-year purple color graph on the right that tells you what percentage of the Class of 2016 was "prepared" or "approaching prepared" for college. High numbers sound nice, but they tell you nothing about meeting A-G requirements.
Now click a link below that table on the right and you'll go to a page that will take you to the real story (https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/cm/). Choose College/Career Indicator Reports and Data, enter the name of your high school again, select it and you will find those measures. Measure E gives you the number and percentage of students who completed courses that met the A-G requirements - you have to scroll down the page a bit to get to Measure E, but it is there!
I wish that this information had been at the very front of the School Dashboard for you (and for me) to find. I also wish that I did not need three detailed paragraphs to explain how to help you to find it.
It's important to know that our schools might be good in other measures, and also where there is room for improvement. This type of information along with parental pressure leads schools to offer programs that improve student achievements and graduation rates.
To learn more about how to build a comprehensive academic and extracurricular profile that goes well beyond A-G requirements and make your student not only eligible, but competitive, read more about the top 10 factors that impact college admissions decisions at http://www.doingcollege.com/resources/top-ten-factors-influencing-college-admissions/.

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