For highly selective schools, the single most important piece of the puzzle is always your TRANSCRIPT. This one-page document from your school is looked at in two ways. First, admission offices want to see your grades AND the trend over time (the best predictor of college success is your most recent grades). Second, your transcript will be evaluated for its perceived rigor - that is, have you taken advantage of the demanding courses your school offers (AP, IB, Honors, etc.)? Of course, there are many other pieces of the admission puzzle - from recommendations and test scores, to extra curricular activities and your essay. Not one piece will ever get you in, rarely will only one piece prevent a denial. More and more schools are using a holistic approach and focus on your character as well (leadership, perseverance, resilience, passion, and empathy). If you would like to discuss any of this in more detail, please feel free to email me.