preparing young people for college academics
Criteria for college admission varies greatly. The more selective the school is for admission, the more demanding the high school program should be. From ninth grade on, the courses a student selects are just as important as their grades in those courses.
MCA has a great track record in preparing young people for college academics. Our teachers have the talent, experience and drive to prepare students for the academic rigors of college life. We start with intentionality in the early grades to point young people toward creating study habits and methods, developing critical thinking, and mastering effective techniques for problem solving so that they can succeed in education throughout their MCA experience and as far as they want to pursue education in the post-secondary world.
We offer 9 college level courses for those students who are motivated toward getting a head start on their college careers. See the brochure listed on the right side of this page. You also may be interested in the essay on why MCA chose dual enrollment courses versus AP courses. We have a college guidance counselor on staff, and we conduct many activities that help introduce students to a variety of colleges. These include class or group trips to local universities and by hosting an annual college fair.
Obviously colleges like to see that students have challenged themselves in some honors and/or dual credit classes, but they also pay close attention to the fact that Maranatha Christian Academy is predominantly a college preparatory school. Many students consider taking honors courses but are apprehensive about getting a lower grade in that course. Should they go for the higher grade in a less difficult course or take the risk of a lower grade in a tougher course? Admissions officers seem to concur that students should elect the more difficult course, but not if a “C” or “D” is that “lower grade”. And please, do not take an honors or AP class just for the sake of some admissions officer. The key here is balance: in depth, diversity, and difficulty of courses. Reasonably good grades throughout high school in all subjects show a willingness to work and an interest in a variety of topics. Even a poor grade or two does not necessarily mean the student will not be admitted to a selective college.
And yes, all four years are important—even the senior year!! In fact, the senior schedule is usually the first item noted on an application. Significant improvement in a student’s record, no matter how late in the high school career, will not go unnoticed by the majority of colleges. On the other hand, a downward trend, as late as the senior year, will cause admissions officers to wonder if the student is ready to take on the challenges of their institutions. Having a “straight A” average is great, but if the student does not have involvement in organizations, clubs or sports, the student is usually viewed as a possible risk. Colleges want to see students who have good grades and are part of the life of the high school since good grades and involvement will most likely transfer to college.