The Chem 20 Factor talks about a college course which students who want to become doctors, or nurses, and such, take before they begin pre-med. The class begins the year with an overwhelmingly large number of students, but finishes the year with only a handful of students remaining. The reason for this, is that there are certain tasks out there that can only be done successfully by people with particular characteristics. High schools have "screening processes" as well that can lead to success or failure in college applications such as AP classes, the the basic concept of grades, and tests like SATs and ACTs.
The course that The Chem 20 Factor analyzes is basically just an enormous filtering system for the rather difficult medical field. Only a handful of the students who enroll in the class make it through the course successfully with an A or a B. This same concept is true for high school students in AP classes. AP(Advanced Placement) classes are an opportunity for high school students to earn college credits while still in a rather relaxed high school atmosphere. Kids who consider themselves "smart", or are thought of by others as "smart" are the ones who challenge themselves with the difficult AP classes. Upon entrance to an AP class, the students will soon find out if they really are "smart" or if they are just an average kid trying to make it in a smart-person world when they get bombarded with an excessive amount of work that some cannot keep up with. To receive an A or a B in those types of classes, a student must put in a lot of time and effort into their work. The concept of having a social life begins to dwindle until pretty soon you begin to ask yourself, "now when was the last time I actually hung out with my friends?" If the student participates in a sport as well, then it takes that much more effort to pass because, let's face it, an essay is a lot easier to write when you have not already run ten miles. Though the going gets tough, the payoff is rather good, definitely worth it if you ask me. Passing one of these such classes with an A or a B really adds to one's college application in a positive way; it shows the student's willingness to challenge themselves and work hard to achieve their goals, which is exactly the kind of personality traits college admissions are looking for.
Another important "screening process" high schools have for college admissions is the rather simple concept of the grading scale. High school students know that in order to get accepted into college in general, whether it be a big Division I university or a small, local community college, their grades have to be above average; they need to have, and maintain, As and Bs all throughout their high school career. College admissions people will rarely give a student's application with a C average the time of day because there are other students applying who possess grades of a B average, and most likely even students with an A average. When a student receives anything n\below a B or an A in a class, it shows the college admission officer that the student does not always want to work hard and put in the effort to submit good, quality work to their professor, and may not always challenge themselves to be the best that they can in the classroom. When a student receives a D or an F in a class, this especially highlights the the problem of having a lack of a good work ethic, which is not the type of person college admissions officers are looking for. When a student receives mostly As and Bs, but then has one D or F, this really poses a problem if that particular student is hoping to be college bound the fall after the graduate high school. Having one F while at the same time receiving As and Bs in all the other classes highlights laziness as well. If a student can get As and Bs in every class except for one, then the student is either extremely ignorant in the one subject, or extremely lazy; in most cases it is the latter. As a college admissions officer, would you accept a student's application if the student showed signs of being lazy and possessing a poor work ethic? I know I would not.
Country-wide tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, are also a part of this "screening process". Every high school student who wants to attend college is required to take either the SAT or the ACT, and sometimes, depending on the college you are looking to attend, taking both is a requirement. These tests help college admissions officers gain a perspective on how intelligent their applicants actually are. Grades are an important factor in the decision between accepting or rejecting a student's application because it shows how good the student's work ethic is, but SAT and ACT scores are probably a tad more important when it comes to judging intelligence. Different teachers for the same subject often have different teaching methods and give different amounts of work, resulting in some classes being easier than others, even though they are the same subject, so grades do not always accurately show how smart one really is. That's why we have the SAT and ACT. Every test is basically the same, so the admissions officers have an easier way to compare applicants intelligence. Higher scores on SATs and ACTs show more intelligence, which is a trait colleges would like to see in their students.
All in all, the high school "screening process" is a rather good one, if you think about it. It tests intelligence and character, the two most important characteristics that a college admissions officer looks for in their applicants. The medical field has Chem 20 to cull the weak, colleges have high school AP classes, grades, and SATs and ACTs.