DATA & INSIGHTS — TJ Admissions

We want you to have a deep understanding of how the TJ Admissions Process works. Unlike other prep centers, we will share all data and insights directly with you, so that you can understand how to best prepare yourself for the TJ Admissions Process.

 

That's why we used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to gather data directly from the TJHSST Admissions Office, and created EduAvenues/TJTestPrep Data & Insights: a data-backed approach to understand the TJ Admissions Process. 

Key Insights
  • Having a high Grade Point Average (GPA) is absolutely necessary, but is not sufficient to get into TJ

  • The middle school you attend plays a very significant role in admissions

    • Carson, Longfellow, Kilmer, and Rocky Run MS now admit students at lower rates

    • Private school students are at a statistical disadvantage

  • Having an "Experience Factor" dramatically improves your chance of being admitted

  • While Race is not explicitly considered, the admissions change is designed to increase the diversity of students (as defined by FCPS) using middle school and "experience factors" as a proxy
  • The Student Portrait Sheet & Problem-Solving Essay is a significant factor after GPA is in range

  • The waitlist is large (a minimum of 1031), with limited chances to be admitted from the waitlist

  • TJHSST admitted at least 1 student from every middle school in order to get representation

Section 1: GPA
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Note that there is no significant difference between Grade Point Averages (GPA) for students, particularly between Admitted and Waitlisted Students. However, even rejected students have an average GPA of 3.86 (just a couple of "A -" grades). Eligibility (>3.5 GPA) does not necessarily mean that GPA is not considered.

Key takeaway: A strong GPA is absolutely necessary, but not sufficient to get admitted to TJ.
Having a strong GPA is the bare minimum, but the rest of your application (Experience Factors and your SPS/Essay) should be strong as well.

Section 2: Additional Factors

Fairfax County Public Schools appears to present this data on their own site by displaying the % of Offers rather than the Admissions or "Offer Rate" for each group. We created a graph based on offer rates by group (what % of each group was admitted), which is different from the FCPS Publication. Note that the offer rates for students with some experience factors are even higher than the overall admissions rate. Historically, with the old admissions system that included the standardized multiple-choice test, students in the Economically Disadvantaged group would be admitted at dramatically lower rates than the overall. For the class of 2025, it's dramatically higher. There is a massive statistical advantage in the process by having one of these factors (English Language Learner, Special Education (Disability), Economic, or Underrepresented MS). Some students have multiple experience factors, so at least 169 students, but no more than 359 students, with one or more experience factors, of a total of 550 seats, were admitted to the Class of 2025. 

Key takeaway: Having an experience factor have a higher offer rate than overall. In addition, private school students have a lower offer rate than overall. Students without an experience factor are therefore admitted at an even lower rate than the overall admissions rate. Despite this, most students with experience factors and overall still get rejected. Given similar GPAs of thousands of students, the admissions office relies heavily upon the Student Portrait Sheet and Problem-Solving Essay to differentiate between students.

Section 3: Middle School

For middle schools with less than 10 admitted students, FCPS hides the data in order to protect privacy. 

Schools Considered "Underrepresented" in Class of 2025 Admissions Cycle:
Beville, Blue Ridge, Fred Lynn, Glasgow, Graham Park, Hampton, Harper Park, Holmes, Hughes, Key, Nokesville, Parkside, Poe, Potomac, River Bend, Sandburg, Saunders, Seneca Ridge, Simpson, Smarts Mill, South County, Sterling, Stone, Trailside, Twain, Whitman

Note that for the Class of 2025, admissions rates for top-performing schools (Carson, Longfellow, Kilmer, Rocky Run) dropped dramatically. Some schools like Kilmer did not even have 10 admitted students for the class of 2025. It is unlikely that the performance of the students at these top feeder schools somehow dropped this sharply. Rather, this is the result of changes in the admissions process that now give the name of your middle school tangible weight in the admissions process.

Key takeaway: Going to a school that used to be a feeder will produce a lower offer rate in the admissions process. Students from Carson, Longfellow, Kilmer, and Rocky Run are being admitted at lower rates than prior years. Students attending a middle school that has historically not sent very many kids to TJ provides them with a very strong statistical advantage in the admissions process.