Every year thousands of students from all over the world try to have a place in the best universities found in USA. However, a really small percentage of applicants are admitted. What do these students do differently from the others?
Well, first things first, according to the 2017 rank from the Forbes website, the five best colleges in USA nowadays are as follow:
- Harvard University - Massachusetts
- Stanford University - California
- Yale University - Connecticut
- Princeton University - New Jersey
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Massachusetts
What should you do to be able to be admitted in these universities? Take a look in the tips bellow.
The best American universities usually evaluate candidates not only for their academic ability but also their passions, interests and achievements beyond the classroom, as well as compatibility with the school. A competitive application demonstrates that the candidate has thoroughly researched the institution and thoroughly knows the program of interest, disciplines it offers and even teachers. Check also the US News tips to stand out.
Grades & SAT
Preparation for college begins on the first day of high school. The major American colleges take into account the student's academic performance over all years of high school. The grades are not analyzed in isolation. The student is assessed within a context. So what counts is the average, compared to the performance of the rest of the school students. It is therefore important that the candidate has a good grade in the class rankings. American colleges observe, for example, whether the student is among the top 5% or 10% of the school.
The SAT is a standard exam, applied to high school students. It serves as a criterion for admission to American universities. The maximum grade of the SAT is 2,400. The best American colleges do not usually care to anyone who has a grade lower than 1,900. In general, they require 2,100. So be prepared! By the way, here is some guide if you are about to take your SAT’s
Awards, honors & extra curricular activities
All are very important in the selection process. They show that students have multiple interests (which is great) and the ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. Colleges usually seek out well-rounded youths. Extracurricular actions, awards, honors, all indicate the passions of the students.
The student's involvement with these activities, however, must be authentic. And everything goes: music, dance, politics, religion, social actions, sports, and entrepreneurship. None of these areas is considered better. What counts is the dedication, quality, and amount of energy expended by the student. So, it's not worth to say that you practiced swimming twice a week. This is routine.
The personal essay is one of the main points of the application and serves to "connect" all others (academic curriculum, GMAT or GRE tests, English proficiency test, letters of recommendation, etc.). In letters of recommendation others speak as they see you. Here is the time when you can tell who you are from your own perspective. So, seize the opportunity!
These universities generally evaluate the following items in the personal statement of graduate candidates:
- Short and medium term career goals;
- Research interests;
- Previous experience with research and academic and professional background;
- And why the desired program suits you.
Do you want more tips for a great personal statement? Ivy Wise has 5 to help you with it.
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants should send the university three letters of recommendation. At this point, the orientation is to choose people who know you well and who can make a detailed letter that is not transferable. In general, teachers or work superiors are chosen. It's important for you to go talk to the person and explain the course you're interested in, your differentials, and how it fits your career goals. Be very careful not to choose the wrong person to write your letter.
Finally, many schools can request an interview with the candidate, which can be done in person on the campus of the institution or via telephone or videoconference. The purpose of the admissions officers is to evaluate five main points:
- Interpersonal skills of the candidate;
- Passions and interests;
- Academic Background;
- Ability to think critically and solve problems;
- Proficiency in English (if international student)
The interview can last from 15 to 50 minutes and is used to check how the student will behave in a classroom. One of the interview purposes is to know if the student knows how to communicate well and has the potential to contribute with others. Take a look in some questions to be prepared for.
In the end what counts is your story!
Your application needs to make sense in the whole. There is no single element that can guarantee its approval. You may have an excellent GMAT score, or you may have three very good recommendation letters that, if your story does not make sense, you may not be approved. Make the best of these tips and good luck!