Why Burgers are More Likely to Get Into Great Colleges, and Excel
At Williamsburg Academy (WA), our students consistently outperform the national average for both public and private schools in the key areas universities consider when admitting students and awarding scholarships. These include a student’s college admission test scores, high school grade point average, level of academic rigor, and leadership experience.
We credit our culture of leadership, our foundation of liberal arts, and our students’ dedication to personal excellence for the exceptional results they have achieved in these areas.
The Key Criteria
U.S. colleges primarily consider two things when deciding whether to accept a student. First, her score on a standardized college admission test (ACT or SAT). Second, her high school GPA. Because the best colleges are usually very competitive, students who score higher on the ACT/SAT and who achieve a higher GPA are more likely to get into top colleges, and more likely to receive scholarships, than students whose grades or scores are lower.
On average, WA students (affectionately known as Burgers) surpass their national peers on both the ACT and SAT. The median score of a WA student is 25 on the ACT and 1774 on the SAT1, while students at public schools come in at 20.92 and 14973, respectively, and those at other private schools tend to score 234 and 16575.
Besides helping Burgers develop the strong reading, writing and math skills needed to achieve these results, we also help them build the confidence it takes to tackle such high-stakes exams in every WA course, and particularly through our College Leadership course.
Burgers also tend to have higher GPAs than their peers at public and other private schools. The average GPA among Williamsburg graduates is 3.68, as compared to the national average of 3.0 for public school graduates6 and 3.3 for graduates of private schools7.
Part of this achievement comes from the fact that we challenge students to do truly excellent work in each of their classes. A minimum passing grade at Williamsburg is 70 percent, whereas most high schools consider 60, and in some cases 50 percent, as passing. In addition, our mentors (teachers) design assignments to be interesting and relevant to students (so they genuinely want to do well on them), and work quickly to help struggling students tap into their personal motivation and build a gameplan to get back on track. This is hardly to say we do all of the work—running a great program attracts great students!
Secondary to test scores and GPA, colleges consider the level of academic rigor a student achieves in high school (for example, whether she took any honors or Advanced Placement (AP) courses). Students who take on more rigorous courses in high school and/or attend more rigorous schools are seen as more likely to thrive in the intense academic environment of a good college.
When it comes to academic rigor, Williamsburg offers students a chance to shine. Thus far, Williamsburg has chosen not to offer AP courses, because they simply are not compatible with our classical liberal arts model. Instead we offer equivalent or higher academic rigor through Honors courses. For students who seek greater challenge, these classics-based Honors courses bring out the full engagement and critical thinking essential for success in schooling as well as in life.
Burgers taking Honors courses gain depth of knowledge and learn how to think as they simulate historical and future events in social studies; research, analyze, and write about literature; and learn and apply Euclidean logic.
Every college also has tertiary considerations, like student leadership, life experience and personal background, to which they give varied emphases. Burgers, doing much of their learning at home, are typically intensely involved in community and cultural activities and events and in other activities that pull them outside their comfort zones.
This brings us to the trait that most sets Burgers apart from students in public or other private schools: their strong leadership and interpersonal skills. Leadership is at the crux of everything we do at Williamsburg, and we continually challenge students to make and keep commitments to build themselves and serve others. Through exposure to the work and writings of great leaders in history, students graduate from Williamsburg able to speak and write with conviction, and to think with uncommon depth and maturity for their age.
Williamsburg students also get a taste of aspects of college life that few of their peers get to experience in high school. For example, we run on a university time-table, with four-month semesters and class periods with varying time options, as opposed to the strict conveyor belt-style schedule at most middle and high schools (i.e., first period, second period, third period, etc.). Due to this, students get practice building and managing their own schedules, much like they will need to do in college. Most importantly, like great college professors, our mentors train and expect students to think for themselves and form their own perspectives, rather than to simply memorize and regurgitate rote information.
An Exciting Future
At Williamsburg, we believe our success comes from helping students learn to lead their own lives and education, and preparing them to enter and influence the established structures that define the world in which we live.
Excelling in the areas most valued by universities sets our students up to succeed when applying to any school. Our graduates have gone on to high-caliber institutions, including Ivy League schools, top technical and arts schools and great liberal arts colleges around the country. Our approach is working. We invite you to join us in shaping the future of online education, and to prepare yourself (or your student) for leadership in the twenty-first century.
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- “ACT and SAT Scores – Williamsburg Academy.” 2015. https://www.williamsburgacademy.org/act-and-sat-scores/
- “2014 ACT National and State Scores | Average Scores by …” 2014. https://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2014/states.html
- “Average SAT Score 2014 – Business Insider.” 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/average-sat-score-2014-2014-10
- This score was calculated by converting the average SAT score for private school students to its equivalent ACT score using the conversion table on this page: “SAT ACT Concordance – StudyPoint.” 2011. http://www.studypoint.com/ed/sat-act-concordance/
- “Private School Students Boost National SAT Scores.” 2014. http://www.capenet.org/pdf/Outlook399.pdf
- “Average High School GPAs Increased since 1990 – US News.” 2011. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2011/04/19/average-high-school-gpas-increased-since-1990
- “Students at Private Colleges Get 0.30 Higher … – TaxProf Blog.” 2010. http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/04/students-at-private-colleges.html