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Monday, May 23, 2016

Dear Mr. Bradshaw,



My family and I emigrated to the United States from China and I am a sophomore in high school. I have been told that I need to prepare for the college application process and I have no idea where to start the whole procedure seems so complicated.

I am currently ranked number three in my class and next year I have registered for the following Advanced Placement classes: World History, Language and Composition, Statistics, Environmental Science, and Latin. I will also be taking Physics, Math III, Greek II, and possibly an AP Art History class depending on my what schedule will allow.

Do you have any suggestions on classes that I should be taking that I am not? Anything you can do to help me would be appreciated.

Signed: Clueless about college

Educated advice: Greek, Latin courses will have Classics Departments drooling over you



Dear Clueless,



You are far from clueless. You have chosen classes that will provide you with excellent preparation for college.

I am impressed with AP Statistics, because not many students take that course in high school. It will help you stand out when applying, and it is an excellent course in preparation for business, law or grad school later on.

And, I have not had a client take both Latin and Greek in over five years. Bravo! Colleges will jump at the opportunity to interview you. Classics Departments drool over students like you and will do everything they can to persuade the college to admit you.

So my short answer to your question is not to worry; you have some very smart people advising you.

On the cautionary side, I did notice that Greek is not listed as an AP class. This usually means it is offered as a non-weighted grade. That means an "A" earned in Greek might only equal a 4.0 instead of a 5.0 if it were offered as an AP class. This could be an important distinction if you have your heart set on graduating as valedictorian. Rest assured that top colleges have representatives that will be familiar with your high school curriculum. You'll be respected for taking Greek even if it is not weighted.

You also mentioned being Chinese-American. I was not so sure whether brushing up on Chinese would help with admission, so I contacted a former client who is an undergraduate at Princeton. She also is a Chinese-American.

She said, in no uncertain terms, "Honestly, I do not think that taking Chinese would be of major help in terms of making your letter writer a better candidate for college admission. There are already plenty of Chinese-Americans who can speak fluent Chinese applying." There you have it, from an insider and one whose opinion I respect.

My advice is to stay focused on Latin and Greek, the languages you are most proficient in now. Your chances of getting admitted might be higher.

As far as career and grad school is concerned, the best preparation is what you are doing now. The key is to master the fundamentals while in high school.

And do not forget to budget time to properly prepare for the SAT or ACT. At least 50% of the admissions decision is based upon your scores on these tests.

Good luck.

Gerald Bradshaw is an international college admission consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.

gerald_bradshaw@post.harvard.edu

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