Do you know how many students apply to undergraduate programs every year? The number is in lakhs and the number of seats available are far less. This means that only the best applicants get a chance to study in some of the top universities, so how do you ensure that you are amongst the best candidates? Here are a few tips which can help you differentiate yourself from other undergraduate applicants, keep reading to know more about it.
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What is your Narrative?
It is no surprise that strong academics will help you stand out, but the way competition has been increasing, only academics are not enough to get into the top universities. Some research has shown that the majority of students who get accepted in top institutions have a specific narrative which helps them stand out. To differentiate yourself from other undergraduate applicants, here are some of the successful narratives that were accepted in top universities –
- The Academic
- The Leader
- The Artist
- The Machine
- The Public Servant
The academic is a student who by getting excellent grades and scores has made himself/herself stand out. This is not only the straight-A valedictorian, but the student who also has 10+ AP tests, takes higher-level college courses, and in academic competitions receives honors at the state or national level.
The Leader is a student who in many endeavors has proven over and through that he or she has the ability to inspire, coordinate and control his or her peers. This student usually has 2-3 important leadership positions and has driven his or her organization(s) to have a powerful influence on the wider community.
Be it music, poetry, painting, or any other type of art, the artist has excelled in his or her craft. The artist has worked hard to achieve an exceptionally high degree of competence in his or her art form and has been able to differentiate himself or herself through public appearances, competitions, and media recognition.
The Machine is a student who appears to follow his or her pursuits with boundless passion and drive. We have seen machines that have excelled in numerous innovative personal ventures, but we have also come across others that have worked in two jobs diligently to support their families, in addition to juggling school and extracurricular duties. Not all computers always do the same things, but with the ultimate drive, they do everything.
The Public Servant
The Public Servant is someone who, whether by voluntary work or government, devotes himself or herself to helping those around him or her via far-reaching (sometimes global) volunteer work, government or NGO work, or even less visible but no less significant work in their own local communities, the public servants we have met have supported others.
Traits to Acquire
Here some of the common traits to acquire to differentiate yourself from other undergraduate applicants. These traits are of students who have been accepted in prestigious institutions.
- From drawing to piloting, they are motivated to achieve perfection in everything they are working on.
- They take initiative in their schools and neighborhoods to do interesting things.
- They are entrepreneurial and in unexpected ways they search for possibilities.
- Beyond their local families, they are complicit. Many of the best performing students have been active at the state or national level in organizations or competitions.
- They follow their own intuitions and seek the possibilities that resonate with them, not the possibilities that others would think are a good way to get to college.”
- They are taking advantage of their funds. Many of the active students at their schools or in their neighborhoods have made the most of the resources available to them.
- Sometimes they are focused beyond themselves on something. Many of the outstanding students are committed to something greater than themselves, whether it is inspiring others with their art or contributing to a humanitarian cause.
Other Things That Can Make Your UG Application Stand Out
There is plenty you can do to make your application shine and to differentiate yourself from other undergraduate applicants. You may benefit directly from any of the following written ideas. Working on only a few of these criteria will potentially boost your candidacy and make your application look great:
- Discover a new language – Enrol yourself for a language course and impress the admission committee. Top three languages to learn are Spanish, French, and German. You can join a school community of professional languages to learn a new language.
- Take your favourite sports to another level – Don’t play that sport as a hobby but hire a professional trainer and start participating in Zonal / State level competitions and collect as many certificates as possible. This ability is highly desirable in an undergraduate candidate.
- Enhance your Academic profile – Most important task is to get a strong GPA. As there are no shortcuts to hard work, join some classes and prepare well for SAT/ACT and make your profile stronger. Participating in school competitions on a regular basis also adds to your profile. Joining national honour societies or other legitimate academic societies where you can demonstrate best of your knowledge, gains wide visibility during the admissions process.
- Be more active in the school community – Get involved in seminars, fairs, debates or any other extracurricular activities in the school that showcase your leadership, Passion, excellent Time Management, Commitment and a warm interpersonal relationship with others in an innovative and enthusiastic manner.
- Showcase your talent – Volunteer for research projects with the help of your teachers and use presentations to explain them in various national and global competitions. Such certificates and activities will work like a jewel in your academic crown.
- Start learning at least one musical instrument – There is always a charm for talented musicians. Such activities present you as a candidate with versatility. This also acts as an indicator of qualities such as creativity.
- Enrol for a relevant online course – Join an online course (or courses) depending upon the availability of time, through edX, Udacity, Coursera etc. Make sure you go for a subject that you are planning to study at undergraduate level. Else you can opt for general courses on creative thinking.
- Take membership at the Library – Reading keeps your mind motivated and enhances your speaking and writing ability. It will ultimately help you with writing an impressive and attractive application essay, and you will probably never fumble for words in a group discussion or personal interview. So, grab a membership at a library or kindle, as the case may be, and use your time well with the new book every month.
- Work on your public speaking skills -Having remarkable public speaking skills is as desirable a quality in an undergraduate aspirant, as it is in life. Make use of every such opportunity you get at work to sharpen this ability. With good public speaking skills, you can reach and influence a larger number of groups. The ability to talk well to a large group of people is also a key factor to show your terrific leadership and ownership skills.
- Attend meditation classes – Practicing meditation or regular exercise improves both mental and physical health. It is strongly recommended to reduce stress and improve working memory and attention duration. So, try practicing such peace exercises, as it would be a great way to clear your mind and prepare for your hectic group discussions at college level.
- Create your own Youtube channel – You know that you have a skill that you are proud of and you have already mastered it, there is nothing better than sharing it with the others? You can create an explainer video series for any topic that you would love to explain. You can use your creativity when making your videos, using various techniques like live-action, innovation, animation. Posting videos and increasing the number of subscribers on your YouTube channel is not only a podium for you to show off your expertise in that particular topic, but is also an opportunity to demonstrate your creative side and increase your circle of influence.
- Be very active on SAT/ACT/AP forums – It’s always amazing to be helpful! Share all that you’ve learned with your peers on the College Board, and any other network that you are following. Reciprocity is a powerful human tool- if you help out fellow aspirants; you are widening the network of people who are at some stage likely to help you in return. Stay active at blogs, articles, any other information related to undergraduate College and universities. This will help you to stay updated about all new developments and trends in this space.
Key Points to Remember
The list is non-ending, now that you know a couple of things you could do to improve your profile, here are two key points to keep in mind to differentiate yourself from other undergraduate applicants.
- Choose activities that would facilitate you to break the stereotype candidate image of your application and create an interest among the admission committee. For example, joining an NGO or active social service might not really differentiate you that much, because most of Indian aspirants tend to have such experiences on their profile. Pick and choose something unexpected that will stick in the minds of the admission’s team. Say, if you are keen for accountancy then showcase a skill that is not expected of an accountant, such as writing creativity, art or poetry, this will mark your profile as a memorable one.
- The second essential aim should be to learn the art of storytelling. Telling your stories perfectly is not a skill that comes very naturally to most students. However, with a little guidance and supervision you can master the art of presenting your story in such a way as to make it sound unique and unforgettable. How do you get better at this? There are some great books available on pitching your college application well. Besides, you can also reach out to application consultants to help you frame a winning college application.
In a nutshell, it’s not just your grades and SAT/ACT scores that universities are looking for. In you, they would like to see a prospective candidate who can bring with him a variety of skills, can contribute to learning and can grow as a learned professional. For further guidance, get in touch with our team at Leverage Edu. Sign up for a free session today!