I know I need to submit my matric scores but what about older marks, and does it matter if I didn’t do as well?
Yes - because colleges want to understand your “academic journey”.
Universities have admissions officers that focus on specific regions (like Southern Africa) and they understand the IEB/NSC curriculum, as well as A Levels and IB. When they see your progress over a number of years, they will get a deeper understanding of your academic pathway during school.
As mentioned in our eBook on applying to the US:
Your application includes your entire academic history, and if you can demonstrate that you’ve taken every opportunity available to you to improve yourself, and constantly strived to be better, and you have the marks to show for it, then your dream of going to Harvard is looking pretty good!
Failing your maths class in year 9 doesn’t actually matter. What matters is that you worked hard and made sure you never failed a maths class again.
At the end of the day, US universities want to understand who you are and the journey you’re on, so that they can decide whether you are worthy of, and will fit in at, their college. The Common App allows you to express yourself in more depth than a South African application. It’s difficult to fake your application, and the best thing you can do, of course, is to be genuine, so that you will be selected for a college where you will really fit in.