Developing a Course of Study


While many factors enter into admission decisions, none is as important as a candidate’s academic performance. When colleges evaluate a high school transcript, they look at two factors — the rigor of the program of study and a student’s level of achievement. This means that students should take the most demanding program that they can handle, balancing rigor and achievement.

Some Advice....

  • Colleges are looking for both depth and breadth. With the wide range of offerings at St. Mark's School, students can be tempted down new and interesting avenues. We encourage you to follow your passions and explore your curiosities, while fulfilling the School’s diploma requirements and meeting, if not exceeding, colleges’ entrance requirements.
  • What if you are doing poorly in a course? If you have consistently struggled with one subject, it probably makes sense to stop your work in that area once you have met St. Mark's School’ graduation requirement. If you generally do well in a subject area, however, but have had one bad term, we encourage you to continue with the discipline. Our hope is that you will be able to improve your grades in subsequent terms and thereby demonstrate to colleges that the earlier low grade was an aberration.
  • strong>We want you to make informed decisions as you plan your coursework at St. Mark's School. The courses you choose and how you fare in them will have a major impact on where you go to college.
  • Be aware that many colleges are particularly concerned with students’ progress in the sciences and mathematics. Several universities require three full years of a lab science as an entrance requirement. Even schools that do not require three years of science often pay close attention to applicants’ records in mathematics and sciences.
  • In choosing courses, pay attention to planning for SAT Subject Tests. Some students will have taken at least one SAT Subject test before V Form year. Most will take several SAT Subject tests in June of their V Form year. Your college counselor will help you determine which tests to take and at what time.
  • Familiarize yourself with the St. Mark’s Course of Study Guide that is available to all students. It is updated yearly and should be carefully reviewed by all parents and students.