How to Build Profile for Admissions at Top Colleges in 2022

It’s now more difficult than ever to get into the best institutions. Students who are very talented, and in no way underqualified, apply to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities every year, but there are only so many spaces to go around. In this post, we will try to demystify what to focus on while building a profile in this competitive era of college admissions.

Recent years have seen an overall drop in admission rates at elite colleges such as Stanford, MIT, Harvard, etc. In comparison to early action or early decision applications, the rates are much lower for regular decision applicants.

Not only are Ivy League and other elite colleges affected by this tendency, but so are public universities as well. Furthermore, the acceptance rates at prestigious public colleges such as the UC colleges (University of California), University of Texas, and the University of Virginia have also declined significantly.

Why does the traditional profile building doesn’t work anymore for college admissions?

To be considered as “fully rounded” in an increasingly competitive college admissions process, many parents and students feel that children should take all their school’s most difficult classes, get straight A’s, and engage in as many extra-curricular activities as possible. Read how to plan extracurriculars in high school for improving college admissions chances.

It is common for teachers and college admission counselors to persuade kids that elite universities would reject them if they obtain B’s, have mediocre test scores, or don’t engage in every extracurricular activity available at their school and prominent summer school programs.

The grades and test scores (i.e., the numbers) of your kid are a significant aspect in determining his or her chances of getting into a good college. However, that doesn’t mean that students should take every difficult class offered at their high school or local community college.

Well-Rounded Applicants are Struggling to Differentiate Themselves in the Applicant Pool

Most students applying to prestigious colleges nowadays are already established, professionals. In addition to their stellar academic records, many candidates have a long list of extracurricular accomplishments, including leadership roles in community organizations, volunteer work, summer college courses, mission trips, and involvement in musical, theatrical, or athletic ensembles.

Admissions committees have a tough time distinguishing students when they get so many applications from so many good applicants with identical applications. So it’s understandable that a large number of highly competent candidates are turned down each year.

In the past, students who participated in a slew of extracurricular activities were seen as well-rounded. However, since you or your child’s guidance counselor applied to universities, the game of college admissions has changed. Your child’s college admissions will become a game of chance if you persist with the old method.

In fact, there are many parents and children who suffer from exhaustion and a sense of never having enough time to pursue the things that are most important to them, if they follow the traditional route to college admissions.

A parent might lose sight of what’s most essential if they’re always performing chores like washing soccer jerseys and preparing mock trial rebuttals for their children on the weekends.

What are Top Colleges Looking for?

Short Answer – Competitive colleges are looking for high-achieving experts in the applicants’ specific fields of interest!

It might be difficult for an admissions team to distinguish a student from their classmates who has a long list of “well-rounded” extracurricular activities.

A kid like John, who performed well in all of his subjects and on standardized exams, participated in six campus activities, and was a member of the school band, would be difficult to respond if you were asked what makes him unique.

For example, Mary was a member of the school band, helped collect money to buy instruments for impoverished primary schools, and arranged a band competition in her town for a charity that was reported by several media sites. One of Mary’s most enduring legacies would be that of “the generous musician.” She has an “X factor” that she may use to her advantage in the application process.

As part of their admissions process, universities search for candidates who excel in their chosen fields and who are also intriguing individuals.

Admission Officers are Putting Great Emphasis on Diversity

Admissions officers often talk about the importance of admitting students from a variety of backgrounds. For many people, this means that universities simply aim to welcome students from a wide range of ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Colleges value these characteristics, but they also want to see a wide range of skills, interests, and accomplishments among their applicants.

The more selective a university’s admissions process, the more it prioritizes admitting accomplished experts from a variety of fields. They would prefer to accept three children with accomplishments in science, community service, or music that are at the 95th percentile, rather than three students whose achievements are at the 80th percentile.

Read How to Get into Ivy and Top Colleges as Asian Applicants.

Admission Officers are Looking for Well-Rounded Applicants with a Huge Spike

In addition to honing his or her skills as a specialist, a candidate should engage in activities that distinguish him or her as a unique individual.

A student like well-rounded John’s involvement in several extracurricular activities may simply be deduced by an admissions reader. He would be expected to have followed in the footsteps of his peers.

Mary’s accomplishments, on the other hand, are far more difficult to put into words. To buy such pricey equipment, she had to raise a lot of money. What was her secret to pulling together such a massive event? It’s unclear how she was able to acquire widespread media notice.

Both John and Mary are intriguing, but if there were no other information about them, we would probably think that Mary was the more interesting of the two.

Thus, a candidate’s extracurricular successes should be tough to describe if you want them to be genuinely distinctive. That is, when they tell their story, people should be shocked and ask, “How could a high school kid achieve that?”

Quick Profile Building Ideas to Stand Out in the College Applicant Pool

  1. Projects
  2. Online courses
  3. Research papers
  4. Internships
  5. Clubs and Committee
  6. Entrepreneurship
  7. Community Work
  8. Sports / Athletics
  9. Social media presence

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Related Articles:

How to Get Involved in Research Work in High School

How to Leverage Summer Break for Community Work and Volunteering

Not the End of Life

Finally, being a graduate of Harvard or any other prestigious university isn’t the only goal worth striving for in life. The stress of college admissions may be alleviated by allowing children to be children.

Attending a famous university isn’t the only way to succeed in life, and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment!

However, I also believe that there is tremendous value in going on to become a part of a distinguished cohort, such as the opportunity to take classes with world-renowned professors, build a network of bright, creative, and interesting fellow students, access incredible resources, and have a brand name on your resume that can open all kinds of personal and professional doors.

Having worked with several candidates till now, many of whom have made it to top schools and many of whom haven’t, I can attest to the many advantages of attending a prestigious university.

With that intent, I hope this short article allows those of you who aim for a top university to achieve your dreams.

All the best!

You might also like the following blog articles:

How to Get Financial Aid for Undergraduate Programs in the USA

How to Write a Great Supplemental Essay for College Admissions

Featured Image Source: TeenLife

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