Have you been dreaming of a Pinterest-inspired life in the states as a student of their top universities? Do you want to run away from the Indian elected autocracy and education outside is your only choice? Do you feel the grass is greener on the other side? Do you see yourself in a multi-ethnic rat race rather than just an Indian one? If yes, you are at the right place. Here are a few tips from a fellow Indian Ivy League aspirant for you to ace admissions and go live your dream life!
Extracurriculars are imperative for college admissions in the US. This trait sets it apart from top Indian colleges that conduct admission on the basis of academic merit. However, both Indian and US colleges expect children to have a brief idea of their future and expect to see it reflected in their list of extracurriculars.
A standard college application has 10 slots for extracurriculars. The first step is choosing your extracurriculars. List down 3 to 4 qualities of yourself that you think is best or which can be improved to make you the best in them. Make sure at least 2 of these qualities align with your tentative future field of study. From this list of 4 talents, you have to curate a list of 10 extracurricular activities. For eg, if you’re natural quality is leadership, be part of your school council and take interest in local politics. Start a club or be a team leader in a sport.
Ivy leagues appreciate practical experience the most, so make sure that whatever you choose to focus on, you are knee-deep in it and that your cause and research works to benefit those around you at that time or in long term. Remember- make sure your courses, future field of study and extracurricular overlap somewhere or the other. To find what are the best extracurriculars for you click here or go to the IvyZen website.
With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, test-optional admission procedures were introduced in most colleges for the class of 2021. However, the fate of the class of 2022 (and ahead) may not be the same.
More than 460 colleges still require an SAT or ACT score in their application. So if you are a student looking to apply in the US, prepare for your SATs. The best time to start giving SATs is in 11th grade(junior year). You can choose to give it as many times out of the 5 times that is conducted in a year. To analyse what you need to work on, take an SAT analysis test on Khan Academy for free and aim for a score of 1550+ to secure your academic entry.
School grades also form an important part of your application. Your education board in junior college does not essentially define your admission. Switching from ICSE, CBSE or SSC to IBDP in junior college can be harrowing for those as the learning approach and academic experience varies greatly. Although it provides ease in terms of GPA calculation or acquainting oneself to a different teaching method, managing academics and extracurriculars can prove to be an unnecessary burden.
Admission offices are looking for students who are pursuing the most rigorous curriculum in their field of interest.
(Please note: Most rigorous curriculum does not essentially mean pursuing science stream.)
Keep your grades high and refrain from converting your grades until asked to(in your college application). Here is a comprehensive guide to grading conversion from ICSE/ISC and CBSE on the 4.0-grade scale and a probability calculator for getting into your dream school.
Via your grades and extracurriculars, you have shown admission offices what you can be – a cosmopolitan adult ready to take on the opportunities and problems that life has presented you with. Your personal essay is where admission offices gauge what you are or what you were and how your circumstances have shaped you and your future. Do not procrastinate when it comes to your essay. These are not written in a day. Sit and remember your life, the lessons you learnt and brainstorm topics.
Eg. Show them how a story your grandparents told you has now become your life motto or why your passion is your passion etc. Show not tell. Be visual about your experiences and show them those parts of you that are not reflected in your grades or your extracurriculars.
When framing the essay, don’t use long and pretentious words to flaunt your vocabulary, keep it candid and personal. Don’t use a lofty tone and try to be positive about most of the things you write. Do not duplicate your CV/Resume, however, you can elaborate on what you wrote there. Do not waver from the core topic of your essay. Write it like a story, not a sitcom. Explain your character arc and finally conclude with what you began with- the moral/core topic of your essay. Keep the essay concise (400 to 600 words) and choose your words wisely, such that although your essay looks like a pond, it is as deep as the ocean.
Prepare ahead of time. Do your best and try to be the best and most productive version of yourself, because this is what Ivy leagues want to see. Early applications have higher admission rates, so make sure to apply early. Apply to as many schools as you want (20 is the maximum) and ensure that they are a mix of likely schools you want to attend. Lastly, remember, college admissions are a gamble. Do not blame yourself for not getting in if you did your best. Your college doesn’t guarantee success, you do.