Will Admission Officials Understand Rigor of an International High School?

Question: I am an international student and the school I go to does not provide weighted GPA nor does it have AP or IB classes. The major courses we take do have much larger credit hour. We take 4 subjects 5 days a week and there are subjects with lower value but this is not stated on our transcripts so the colleges might be misled. All that is written is the subject and the grade. I calculated my weighted GPA according to the level of difficulty of each subject and it is very high. How do I show this to the colleges I am applying to? How do I show them that I am actually doing great on very difficult subjects since my transcript represents every class as if they were of equal value?

College admission officers try to understand the curriculum and level of rigor at each high school in their assigned territory. But, nonetheless, even admission officials who are very experienced can have trouble deciphering the curriculum at international schools, especially when an applicant hails from a high school that is rarely represented in their applicant pool.

If your high school frequently sends students to the colleges on your list, then you can be assured that there will be an admission official in charge of evaluating your application who does have a strong sense of the demands of your schedule. But, if not, you would be doing the admission folks—and yourself—a favor by providing a brief “primer." Use the “Additional Information" section of your applications or a separate letter to explain what you've told “The Dean" but in more detail. You can point out how you have “weighted" your own grades, even when this weight won't appear on your transcript.

Admission committees work hard to evaluate every applicant in the context of his or her high school, but sometimes they do end up making “apples versus oranges" comparisons because high schools can vary so greatly. So don't hesitate to provide extra insights that might make their job a little easier.