It’s the question everyone dreads. “What are you going to study?” You worry you’ll change your mind; you worry you won’t pick the right choice. If your answer is “I don’t know, but I know I want to work in STEM,” this article will help you realize there are plenty of options for you to consider.
Did you know that the majority of low-income, qualified students don’t apply to top colleges? With high grades and academic achievements, many would be as competitive as their peers at the most selective schools, including Ivy League institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Yet, a number of socioeconomic factors either dissuade or prevent low-income students from applying to these schools. In comes QuestBridge.
A: Your GPA is just one factor among a dozen or so colleges use to evaluate applicants. In many ways, I view course rigor and other academic indicators as important, if not more important, than having an incredibly high GPA (3.75+). Still, GPA does matter in the long run.
Are you thinking about studying engineering? From mechanical engineering to computer engineering, there are plenty of paths to explore. Plus, the field of engineering is expected to continue growing in the next decade, so you’d be looking at a strong job outlook for the future.
Depends. If your application is for graduate school where you generally already have a field of study chosen, or for direct admission into an undergrad college like X University’s College of Education, you should definitely tie your main application essay into your future major or focus area.
As a 9th or 10th grader, it can feel like it’s too early in the game to start worrying about the actual process of applying to college. And you’re right. Your goal in the first two years of high school should really be to lay the foundation for success--focus on doing your best in school and finding the extracurricular activities that you enjoy--so you can develop your interests and grow as a student.
As an experienced admissions file reader, there are some basic guidelines I would give any applicant, that if followed, would make their application profile more competitive for top schools, like the Ivies.
Like your college essay, letters of recommendation allow admissions counselors to gain a better sense of who you are. While your SAT scores and grades give an idea of your academic capabilities, your recommenders can speak to your personality, your work ethic, and what you might bring to the campus culture.
When applying for college, you’ll most likely need to include one to two letters of recommendation from a high school teacher with your application. Colleges use these letters of recommendation to understand the whole student as a part of the holistic review process. Letters of recommendation allow admissions officers to learn more about your personal background, values, and interests by getting a unique perspective from someone who knows you well.
As a professional admissions coach and on-again, off-again application reader for a large university, I often get asked the question: what are colleges looking for? Meaning, what kind of traits do colleges look for in the students they admit? Well, the answer is long, but not really that complicated.
I’m a Junior right now and trying to figure out what classes I want to have next year. I’m thinking about taking an extra elective next year, instead of Physics because I hate science and would rather do something, I enjoy my Senior year. How important is it for me to take Physics if I want to get into T20 schools like Cornell, Stanford, and Columbia?
Almost all colleges and universities consider course rigor, or course difficulty, as part of the process for assessing candidates who apply for undergraduate admissions. So, when you choose courses in high school, keep in mind that a high level of course rigor will both prepare you to succeed in college as well as position you as a competitive applicant when applying to college. Overall, applicants for admissions at top colleges should strive to complete a somewhat rigorous high school curriculum as it demonstrates to admissions staff that you are willing to put in the effort. Here’s a brief guide for what colleges consider exceptional, strong, good, marginal, and weak college prep curriculum.
I'll be sitting in on a class at the University of Washington in a couple days and it'll be my first time ever sitting in on a class. Are there certain rules or etiquette I should follow when I'm there?
We all know that to get into top colleges, students need to start preparing early in high school to stay competitive. That means, participating in extracurriculars and taking a rigorous course load as early as sophomore year. Starting a club or building houses in your free time is more common than you think, so to truly stand out among hundreds of undergraduate applications, you really have to go the extra step in pursuing and participating in opportunities that aren’t run of the mill. Here’s what I suggest for freshman and sophomores to get a leg up in the race:
For one of the schools I’m applying to, the word limit for the personal statement is 3,250 words. I called the school’s admissions office to ask if 3,000 approximate words was correct, to which they confirmed on the basis of it being a “transfer essay”. I’m wondering if lengthier essays for transfers aren’t uncommon, especially for selective schools.