Rachel Edgell

What do GCSE results mean for US universities?

If you’ve recently received your GCSE results and are already planning for US university applications, then you’re right on time--well done! The American application process is most successful when spread out over UK Years 12 and 13. 


If you were disappointed by your GCSE results, take heart! The American application process is less-conditional and more holistic than UCAS -- even the most selective US universities do not have minimum requirements, allowing applicants to showcase their true potential in many different ways. 


Think of US application components as puzzle pieces that fit together to show universities who you are as both a student and as an individual: grades (GCSEs and predicted A-Levels), extracurricular activities (sport, musical instruments, CCF, etc.), test scores (SAT/ACT and the SAT Subject Tests), essays (personal statement and shorter supplemental prompts), teacher recommendation letters, and interviews.


The main takeaway: grades are just one piece of the puzzle. Strong GCSEs and AS Levels are preferred, but they are not the be-all and end-all of American university applications. US universities are more interested in who you are based on your overall experiences in Years 10-13. 


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