Counselor resources

School profiles: From cumbersome to super simple

Patrick Love, High School Counselor at Concordia International School, Shanghai, shares insights and recommendations on building your school profile

Cialfo Community
October 19, 2021
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5 min read

School profiles simplified

A school profile provides an overview on the important information about your school's demographics, curriculum and grading system. It is a recommended component of the application process for the Common App.

  1. School profile planning
  2. Components of a school profile
  3. Using Cialfo to obtain data for your school profile

School profile planning

There are three key questions to start with when planning your school profile.

Who is your audience?

How you set up your profile depends on what the purpose of your page is and who your main audience is.

Some schools use their profiles just for colleges, which tends to be more straightforward in terms of layout. Other schools may use it in conjunction with marketing or admissions, which makes for a more complex layout with attractive graphics. These can also be used as an information prospectus to attract the parents of prospective students.

What do you want to highlight about your school?

  • What are some of the things that set your school apart and make it unique for students?
  • How will you collect and format data?

What information should you include?

  • What are the foundational categories that should be understood about your school?
  • What is unique or should be highlighted?

In general, basic information on the school including its history and background is a fundamental part of a school profile. You should also include demographic information on students, updates on the teaching faculty and stuff, etc.

Components of a school profile

Curriculum

This is another fundamental aspect of a school profile. Concordia, for instance, offers a wide range of classes on top of regular high school classes, from AP classes to Honours classes and Applied Learning classes. 

If you have an independent curriculum, an important part of your school profile is explaining that to college reps. Having met with many college reps over the years, Love explains that what they want is to better understand the school’s curriculum so that they can accurately assess students. Any school that has an independent curriculum will probably devote a significant portion of their school profile to explaining and outlining its curriculum. 

Some questions to consider when setting up this section include:

  • What is offered?
  • What is unique?
  • How might curricular offerings shape learners?
  • How might college readers best understand the course selections student have made?

External assessments

This section highlights your students’ achievements, such as in standardized test scores and how this may compare to the national or global average. 

The data for this section is largely influenced by where students apply to colleges. With an increasing number of US colleges going test-optional, this may change in the near future, as the number of students taking standardized tests will probably decrease. 

University matriculations

  • How many years of matriculation data might best represent the trends and preferences of your student body?

College reps always check this page carefully, so it is important to put some thought into this. College reps may notice that their university isn’t on here, in which case this presents a good opportunity to open up a conversation on how the school can better support students in gaining admission to those colleges.

Parents in competitive school markets also tend to zoom in on this page.

Using Cialfo to obtain data for your school profile

Cialfo makes it a breeze for college counselors to obtain up-to-date information and meaningful data on their students that can be used in their school profile.

College Matriculation Report

The Matriculations Report can be accessed on Cialfo under the Reports function, which makes it simple to access collated data from cohorts of students who have graduated. You can easily filter what data you want to include with the check boxes on the sidebar.

Cialfo helps visually present the data in a number of interesting ways, which help unveil insights into your students’ performance that you might otherwise have missed. 

Application Insights

Application Insights are useful in giving college reps an idea of the trends in your students’ applications. For instance, at Concordia, Love and his team have noticed that the average applications per student has been climbing slowly, a phenomenon that has recently been further accelerated by the pandemic and its effects.

College Board offers a sample school profile which can be found here. For more advice and information from fellow counselors and industry experts, including sample school profiles from actual schools, join the Cialfo Community today!

A big thank you to Patrick Love, High School Counselor at Concordia International School, Shanghai, for sharing his insights and advice on building an effective school profile.

Image credits: Lukas, Pixabay and Patrick Love

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