Getting into a top university is no easy feat – especially for Asian Americans. We all know that college admissions is competitive, but how competitive is it? In fact, when I speak to parents and students across the country, one of the common misconceptions I encounter is that students and parents don’t really understand how competitive it really is. And while stories of students getting into one of the HYPSM float around, those numbers are far fewer than one may realize.
Let me break down some numbers for you. Assume a given class has on average 1600 students. This may vary by school – for example, Harvard’s undergraduate class size is ~1700, Princeton ~1300, Yale ~1400, etc. With a class size of 1600 students, roughly 20% of the class size are Asian American. While this percentage has slowly trickled up higher over the past 3 or so years due to more lawsuits about affirmative action, we can safely assume that number.
So let’s take 20% x 1600 = 320 per class. Let’s assume there are nine of the very top schools HYPSM + Columbia, Penn, Chicago, and Caltech – that means 9 x 320 = 2880 < 3000 spots in the entire country. And if you only consider HYPSM, that means there are only 5 x 320 = ~1500 spots in the entire country for Asian Americans to get in!
The odds of getting one of those spots is extremelylow. Compare and contrast that to another school like Berkeley, which doesn’t bias against ethnicity and race and has a much higher acceptance rate for Asian Americans – in fact, 50% of the student body is Asian. So when you hear of an Asian American getting into one of the top universities, understand that is an incredibly difficult feat – you really have to be stellar in your academics, extracurriculars, and of course the application in order to seal the deal.
So ~1500-3000 spots in the entire country given the millions of applicants that apply every year. Will one of those spots be yours? Feel free to schedule an initial consultation today to gain insight into how to navigate the college admissions process.
The modern day 4.0 GPA and 1600 SAT score student is no longer impressive.
Back then, the Ivy Leagues had a rubric called an Academic Index that was used to rank students according to their academic profile on the basis of their GPA, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP Exam scores. Stronger scores and more exams would correlate to a higher Academic Index, which would be one of the factors for admission. In addition, the extracurricular profile would get assigned a graded score (for some schools it was on a scale of 1-5, or 1-10), and that score would be assigned to the candidate as well.
But over the course of the past few years, the bar has been raised significantly and the standards for admission have evolved tremendously. The Academic Index is no longer relevant, and in its place is a rubric that requires much higher standards to demonstrate academic proficiency. Whereas a top academic index would simply mean top grades and test scores, nowadays that’s no longer the case. Too many students have 4.0’s and strong SAT scores to make those academic stats the norm, and instead you now have to do much more on top of that to get in.
The same goes for extracurricular activities. Back then, being involved in school activities and well-rounded was enough to merit a strong extracurricular score. But now, the standards are much higher and you need stronger ingredients to get in. It’s not unusual to see high school students with anywhere from 10-15 different extracurriculars on their resume (15!? How on earth do you do 15 activities, you might ask?) on their application to demonstrate the degree of their involvement.
As a consultant who has consistently placed students into the top universities every year, I understand both the level of competition and academic/extracurricular profile that is required to gain a spot at these coveted universities. While certainly I will evaluate a student’s course selection and standardized test taking schedule, what’s more important is developing a strong academic and extracurricular profile for the student so that the applicant can compete against the country’s best and brightest.
Are students and parents aware or knowledgeable of these outside academic competitions or extracurricular activities that would increase a student’s chances at acceptance?
How do you begin to prepare for these competitions or gain a leadership position in these extracurricular activities to increase your odds of success?
Sometimes, I will meet parents and students in their senior year with only strong grades and test scores and maybe 2-3 awards, and they think that their child who has a 4.0 GPA and 1600 SAT score is going to Harvard. Well, you’re in for some tough luck because it’s too late to compete in those national competitions. At that point, it’s a matter of padding your extracurricular activities which you can still accomplish, as well as writing strong personal statements and application.
You still have a shot at getting in, of course, but at a diminished probability due to lack of awareness of taking advantage of all those opportunities outside of the standard requirements of admission in GPA and standardized test taking. In the college admissions world, if you really want the best shot at getting in, all the stars have to align.
During our consultations,I guide the student onexactly the steps and strategies needed to perform well at these regional and national academic competitions and earn a leadership positions in these targeted extracurriculars. We ensure that no stone gets left unturned, and no opportunity gets left out depending on the student’s interests and intellectual capabilities, whether in the humanities or the math/sciences.
In the college admissions world, there are certainly high impact activities and low impact activities. A seasoned admissions consultant like myself understands the difference among the opportunity set of activities, and sets expectations and priorities straight for my students so that they know exactly the path to pursue and the activities to tackle to make them competitive in the eyes of the admissions officers.
Just to give an example, let’s take the Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), for instance. Many students prepare early on to qualify for this national competition, which would dramatically raise your academic profile in the eyes of the admissions officers.
So how do you go about getting a research internship?
How do you know which research project to take on?
How do you write your research paper to increase your odds of getting an award?
These are just some of the common questions that I guide my students through – and this is just for one competition. The truth of the matter is that there are literally hundreds of competitions, and understanding how to take advantage of these opportunities while effectively maximizing your resources in terms of time and effort to achieve these milestones plays a tremendous role in my quarterly consultations that I have with my private consulting clients.
Over the course of our time together, it’s common for some of the email correspondences with my clients to span over 100 emails per given year, including questions about how to raise their academic and extracurricular profile, essays to summer programs, as well as college applications, depending on the year the students joins. That’s how closely I work with my students to help them get into the university of their dreams.
And while I often emphasize the importance of the personal statement to get in (and still do), the weaker the grades, scores, and extracurriculars, the lower the chances – that’s without a doubt. I’ve had a much easier time getting a strong student academically and extracurricular-wise than a student who is weaker.
For weaker students, the personal statement may sometimes be enough to sway the minds of the admissions officers, and that’s where we really shine and I know I am going above and beyond to help the candidate. I’ve always said the weakest student I’ve ever helped get into an Ivy League university had a 3.3 unweighted GPA and a subpar SAT score. Like I said, it has happened before but it’s much harder to accomplish.
Parents and students who think that a 4.0 and 1600 SAT score (while it sounds great in a dinner table conversation with friends and family) are enough to get into a top university are in for a huge surprise. Because those stats are no longer considered impressive in the eyes of the admissions committee – those stats are considered very average. In fact, there were 12,000 students who applied to Stanford last year with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
In today’s digital era, the equivalent of a 4.0 GPA and 1600 SAT score student 10-15 years ago means accomplishing much more today and requires much higher standards to be considered truly competitive and creme of the crop. Given extremely low acceptance rates of 4-5% and a rising population with millions applying to college every year, along with the improvement in the quality of education and resources, you can imagine why that may be the case. Some students I’ve worked with have been preparing as early as 5th grade so that they are way ahead of the curve by the time they enter high school when all the marbles are on the table.
Getting into a top university is difficult enough, and they’re crapshoots for anyone given the incredibly low acceptance rates. But if you really want to maximize your chances of getting in, you need to do everything right to get that acceptance letter. And that means a stellar academic and extracurricular profile and of course, a powerful application to seal the deal.
Note: A stellar academic/extracurricular profile with a weak application can lead to rejections, and vice versa as well. No one said college admissions was easy! 🙂
Let me tell you a story. Imagine that you had a friend named John.
John was a varsity track and field athlete, volunteered at a senior citizen center, and was involved in some non-profit, but only had decent but not stellar grades and scores. In every subject that you took with this guy named John, you seemed to edge him out in different ways – from SAT scores (John only had a 1520 – nothing to blink twice at), so-so grades with a unremarkable 3.8 GPA, and average SAT Subject Test Scores – 760 on Math Level 2, 750 on US History, and 720 on English Literature.
John was your competitor that you’d never acknowledge publicly, but you knew you were smarter than John in every aspect – you crushed your SAT’s and got a perfect 1600, earned a 4.0 GPA, 800’s across the board on your SAT Subject Tests, and even scored top 500 on the prestigious USA Physics Olympiad. Everything you did seemed to be better than John, who you appreciated for his efforts but you still secretly knew you were better in almost every category. The only thing that John probably had over you was the attractive girl he asked out on his prom date while you were too busy focusing on how to get a leg up on him in college admissions.
Senior year rolls around, and you quickly learn from your best friend that John is applying to the same early school as you are! Both of you want to attend the prestigious Stanford University in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Who doesn’t these days? With the California sunshine and and the close proximity to billion dollar startups and easy access to venture capital, it’s almost a no-brainer.
Even though it’s sunny side California, you can taste the advent of winter from the colder-than-usual water bottles that your parents bring home from Costco. As both of you wait anxiously for the results, you learn on October 16th that you just placed semifinalist in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition. A flood of euphoria rocks your inner core as you let out a scream just loud enough to be inaudible and avoid laser-like stares in the middle of the library. Meanwhile, John is carrying on as usual, hanging out in the middle of campus with his varsity letterman jacket, and occasionally wrapping his arm around his newfound girl. Walking past John, you enviously flash him a smile and think secretly to yourself that there’s no way he would ever get in over you now with your prestigious award.
Flash forward a few weeks and it’s now December 15th. The day the acceptance letters come out. Ice cold runs through your veins as you brace yourself for the next 5 pivotal minutes of your life. Click.
“Unfortunately, we’re sorry to inform you that you have been deferred from Stanford…” A stone drops in your stomache. Tears flood down.
As you shut off your computer and grab your jacket, you walk outside only to hear sounds of cheers and screams outside. You see John high fiving his classmates and jumping up and down, waving his iPhone in the air. John just got into Stanford.
What the hell just happened?
Welcome to the world of college admissions.
What went wrong in this situation, and what could you do to prevent this? As a private college consultant for over 8 years, I’ve seen stories like this time and time again. More often than not, a high achieving student gets rejected from a top university, while another strong-but-not-great student gets in. Too many students are laser focused on the raw stats and numbers – a slightly higher SAT score, a slightly higher AP exam, etc. and tend to neglect the most important part of the whole process: the college applications and personal statements.
Sure, the grades, scores, and awards certainly help – but if you have all that and still write subpar personal statements that fails to reflect the voice that defines you, then you’re in for some tough luck. As emotions vacillate from acceptance to deferrals to rejections throughout high schools in the country, just remember that the most important ingredient to never overlook is the personal statement. Because at the end of the day that can mean the difference between an acceptance or deferral/rejection. And maybe even your future prom date.
I get asked questions about college admissions all the time.
Should my child play the piano or the oboe?
I just scored 790 on my SAT 2 Math subject test, should I retake it to get an 800?
Should I perform 100 hours of community service, or 500 hours of community service?
What are my chances to Stanford with a 4.0 GPA and 1600 SAT score?
Should I take AP US History or double up on an AP science my junior year?
While these are all fair questions to ask and I guide my students through every step of the way in my private consulting program, I can tell you that even if you get a 4.0 GPA, 1600 SAT score, perform 500 hours of community service, and play the oboe, you won’t get into Stanford or any other Ivy League if you don’t know how to present yourself in the application, in particular writing thought provoking, compelling personal statements. This is the biggest misconception about college admissions – that with the top scores, grades, national awards, and groundbreaking extracurricular activities that you will ultimately get admitted into the university you’ve worked so hard for.
And if you’re one of the people who do believe that’s what it takes to get in, then you’re in for a rude awakening. Because getting in isn’t just about having a patent under your name or finding some groundbreaking innovation as a high school student. Even if you have the top scores, grades, national awards, and groundbreaking extracurriculars, you can still get rejected from every Ivy League school. I’ve seen this time and time again.
On the contrary, however, I’m not saying you should get low grades and scores, either. But after a certain point and threshold, your chances of getting into a top university highly depends on how well you write the personal statement and package the rest of your application – not on your raw academic and/or extracurricular achievements.
Every family and student I’ve spoken to who approached the college admissions process for the first time is surprised by the amount of sweat and tears that is goes into application season. And those who aren’t prepared early on for this whirlwind are quickly left in the dust and a state of panic, wondering how to approach this most crucial part of the college admissions process that will determine where the student will matriculate for the next four years.
What adds to this level of misconception are all the stories that parents, families, and students hear through the grapevine from their inner social circles. Soon enough, as you can imagine, rumors spread like wildfire and everyone has their own conception of what it really takes to get into a top university. “I heard Eric was accepted to Princeton because he was a semifinalist in the Chemistry Olympiad and Siemens Competition. Mark was accepted to Stanford because he won a gold medal in Tae Kwon Do. Dave got into Harvard because both his parents went there.”
Don’t get me wrong, getting those awards help. If you’re you’ve placed in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair or became state champion in the national debate competition, those awards will help get your application noticed. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get in. In fact, far from it – I’ve had high achieving, high octane prospective clients who reach out to me for help on their transfer application who literally got rejected to all the top schools they applied because they didn’t spend enough time on their application.
I feel for those students – and it’s unfortunate given how hard they worked. I mean, you just spent four years of your life working your tail off and you got dinged everywhere. We can certainly blame the ultra low acceptance rates as a culprit, but the question is did your application or personal statement give you a chance at getting admitted in the first place? How strong of an application did you really put together? If you put together a strong application and it still didn’t work, certainly you can rest in peace that you tried your best and gave it your all. But if you didn’t, then you just shot yourself in the leg.
Personally, I’ve edited and read thousands of essays, in every shape or form. Most of the time I can tell right away when a personal statement has gone awry – that there is a very evident flaw in the essay that would diminish an applicant’s chances of admission. Or other times, the essay was just really mediocre and didn’t really put the student’s strongest foot forward.
While I certainly can’t guarantee everyone into a top university, I can tell you that my students are extremely pleased with the essays that they write. Not only are they satisfied with their personal statements and their completed application, but they are content that they performed to the best of their ability and did everything in their power to get admitted to these highly selective schools. After my students go through my program, there is no regret – we’ve put their best foot forward.
Just browse through College Confidential, a popular college admissions forum, and you’ll see students posting their stats – many with strong academic and extracurricular profiles, but still getting knocked down in the process. Sure, it’s competitive. Acceptance rates are at all time lows and it will continue to be more competitive every year given the significant increase in applicants and the limited number of spots. The biggest misconception when it comes to college admissions is that you can get in with simply a strong academic and extracurricular profile alone.
What I don’t hear often enough are what are the steps and approaches that one took in their application. What did Eric, Mark or Dave write about in their personal statement? How did they construct a compelling story that demonstrated to the admissions officers their personal qualities that ultimately got them that acceptance letter? And while these are definitely more private and personal information that admitted students often don’t share, these are ultimately the factors that got the student in and separated them from the thousands of other applicants out there.
And I can guarantee you that’s something parents and students who have gotten into these top universities won’t tell you. Because what’s the point – why would they? They simply aren’t incentivized to and prefer to boast about how great their child is rather than sharing about what a great application they put together. Don’t make that mistake and neglect the application.
I highly suggest reading the essays and personal statements of successful candidates that did get accepted to top universities and understand on a more granular level why a particular student was admitted. It’s because the admissions officers can identify with the voice of the essay and understand the student on a much deeper and personal level. And once you get to that point and package together a compelling application, you know you have a strong shot at one of these top universities.
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make in the college admissions process is not taking your application seriously enough. And not knowing how to write the personal statement.
In that case, your best bet might be to hire a professional college consultant who understands how to help you craft a powerful personal statement and package your application together.
Most students simply don’t know what it takes to write a killer personal statement. And why should they? High school students have been brainwashed by their teachers in their AP English Language & Literature classes into thinking that superior writing means backing up your thesis with evidence and quotes from their literature books, and occasionally apply a flashy showcase of byzantine vocabulary I haven’t heard since taking my SAT exam over a decade ago. But this type of essay is the complete antithesis of what a strong personal statement should look like when it comes to college admissions.
The admissions officers aren’t looking for your analysis of Peter Singer’s philosophical constructs on utilitarianism, nor are they interested in learning about a historical analysis of the Second World War. They’re interested in who you are as a person. And how your experiences have shaped your perspective and the personal qualities that ultimately define who you are. They want to see the level of self reflection and introspection in your writing and how you think about and approach the world around you. Writing that type of personal statement simply doesn’t come naturally to most high school students.
Even as I write this, I am surprised by parents’ reactions when they find out come May that their child has been rejected by every single Ivy League school he/she has applied to, despite getting top grades, scores, and extracurriculars. All the blood, sweat, and tears that was put into academics and extracurriculars in the past four years goes out the window. This is not uncommon this day and age – in fact, it’s the norm. Don’t be surprised. As I’ve said before, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. In this day and age, you have to fight tooth and nail to get into one of these top universities, and the essay is where you stand out.
I’ve seen students every year, including valedictorians of their classes, who went through the process themselves who reach out to me to help them on their transfer application because they literally got turned down by every single Ivy League school. It could easily happen to you. There were 12,000 students who applied last year to Stanford with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and Princeton has stated repeatedly that if they can fill an entire class of valedictorians, they can easily do so. Don’t be one of those students who find out too late in the process and realize their mistake after they’ve already been rejected – it could easily happen to you.
That’s why if you want to have your college application done the right way, hire a professional college consultant to help maximize your chances of getting in. Consider it an investment in your education that will open up doors for the rest of your life. Whether it’s working in Silicon Valley or Wall Street, a degree from a top university goes a long way. That’s precisely why I founded Ivy College Admit – I’m here to help.
In the admissions ball game, you are only as good as you are on paper. Although you may have spent hours on a particular activity in high school, if you do not capture that in the application in a meaningful manner, then you have done nothing in the admission officer’s eyes. And that means writing stellar application essays.
Remember the admissions officers never visit nor see you. All they get is the electronic pdf or 12 page printout that is your college application. Sure, you might argue there is the interview – but that accounts for a small portion of the admissions process and is typically done by alumni of the school – not the admissions officers themselves. So why do these amazing, well-qualified people still get rejected every year? Because they didn’t know how to write their personal statement.
Whether you get accepted or not really depends on how you present yourself in the application. All the blood, sweat, and tears that you put into your extracurricular and leadership activities are meaningless if you don’t know how to capture how your experiences shaped you in the personal statement, or the college application, in a meaningful manner.
Getting into an Ivy League college depends on how well you craft together that college application and demonstrate those personal qualities, leadership, and contribution to your community through the personal statement. The personal statement includes the supplemental essays for each university as well as the 650 word main common app essay. Ensuring that those essays form a powerful picture that represents the applicants personal qualities is the holy grail of college admissions.
I’ve seen students with perfect 1600 (or 2400) SAT scores and 4.0 GPA’s get turned down by the the Ivies. I’ve also helped and worked with lower achieving students with 1800 (out of 2400) SAT scores and 3.3 GPA get accepted into an Ivy League. In fact, I’ve always said the weakest student I’ve ever helped get into an Ivy League had a 3.3 unweighted GPA and 1180 on the SAT’s. Yes, you heard me right – and he was Asian American too – no hooks, no legacies, no NCAA athlete, nor URM.
Of course, getting tip top grades, strong SAT, SAT Subject, and AP test scores, and strong leadership and extracurricular activities help significantly with the process. In this day and age, getting those are almost required and a minimum threshold to get in. Pursue activities that you’re passionate about and demonstrate your well-roundedness and focus – we’ve all heard that over and over again. But you didn’t need me to tell you that, did you?
There are literally tens of thousands of students with perfect 4.0 GPA’s, 1550+ SAT scores, National Merit Semifinalists, National AP Scholars, and the list goes on. These exams are no longer “enough” to differentiate one student from another given so many students boast these stats. The personal statement is the one differentiating factor that separates the 1600 SAT, 4.0 GPA student from the one who has a 1580 SAT and 3.9 GPA at the same high school. These stats are no longer “good enough” to differentiate one candidate from another – rather, they are typical scores and grades that the Ivy Leagues expect you to get.
The biggest mistake that students make is not taking their application seriously enough. This tends to happen with overachievers, who believe that their grades, test scores, and even national academic awards are enough to get them in. So yes, do pursue your passions and your interests, and work as hard as you can during your four years of high school. Just remember to capture and express all of your personal qualities in the college application itself, and write a genuine, palpable personal statement that helps the admissions officers understand the qualities that define you. Most of the time I can tell right away if a student will get accepted or rejected based on the essays alone.
I can’t tell you how many students every year tend to neglect the importance of these essays. If I were to give it a true weighting, I’d assign 50% of the admissions decision to the common app essay and recommendation letters, 25% to academics, 25% to extracurriculars. But this number can change drastically when the admissions committee is making decisions where nearly every strong applicant has perfect 4.0’s and top of the line 1550-1600 SAT scores.
In fact, I will bet that a student with a lower score, say 1300 SAT and 3.8 GPA with a stellar application and well written personal statement has a better shot than the 1600 SAT student with a poorly written personal statement at getting into the Ivy League. Princeton, my alma mater, states every year that if they could fill their entire class with valedictorians or 1600 SAT score students, they could do so easily.
At the end of the day, a strong student with high academic and extracurricular stats is only just that – another profile on paper to the admissions committee. That paper ultimately comes to life through the common app essays – who this candidate is, the applicant’s level of introspection and critical thinking, and the values and experiences that shape the applicant’s perspective. And sometimes, the admissions committee is even willing to overlook a student with low GPA/test scores if they can understand how that applicant thinks on a deeper level.
So how can you get into the Ivy League? Craft together a well thought out college application and personal statement that reflects the qualities that define you. Because at the end of the day, the bitter truth is that admissions to Ivy League schools is highly dependent on how well you present yourself on paper and draft your personal statement.
Even with admissions rates dropping to all time lows…
My students have done remarkably well in the college admissions process. And I mean incredibly well, gaining spots in the top 6 universities in the country, including multiple acceptances to Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, etc. Every year, as thousands of students vie for a spot at one of the country’s most elite institutions, a part of me shivers with excitement. But it’s not the type of excitement that you’d feel while going on a roller coaster ride – it’s a calm, peaceful excitement that vibrates within me as I help my students navigate the murky waters of college admissions to get them that coveted acceptance letter.
As high school students across the country sweat about final exams and college applications, it’s a peaceful journey for me. But for my students, I sense their nervousness and trepidation as they embark upon the college admissions process. Thoughts loom: “What if I don’t get in? What if all the hard work I put in throughout all my high years have gone to waste?”
Granted, it is a pivotal moment in one’s life. And that’s why given my expertise with the college admissions process, I love my job so much. It’s a great passion for me to see my students get accepted to the college of their choice. It’s a thrill every year for me as I witness my students, one by one, get accepted to the university they’ve always dreamed of attending. Princeton. Stanford. MIT. Harvard. UChicago.
But what I remind all of my students is that we didn’t get to this position without hard work, and most importantly, spending significant time on the application. Most students tend to neglect the importance of putting together a well thought out application, which is my focus from day one as soon as the student signs up with me. By crafting together a compelling college application that blow the admissions officers away, we are able to outcompete against the country’s best and brightest. Congratulations to all the early acceptances!
Getting into an Ivy League is tough – especially for Asian Americans.
As the baby boomers and population have steadily increased, enrollment rates for Asian Americans at the nation’s most competitive universities have stayed at the same rate – slightly under 20%. It’s no secret that college admissions is most competitive for Asian Americans and Jews, who typically have higher SAT scores and GPA’s than other ethnicities, but have much lower enrollment rates. A complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights alleges that for Asian-Americans students to gain admission, they have to have SAT scores 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students, and 45 points higher than African American students.
Admissions at competitive universities such as the Ivy League base their admissions decisions around holistic factors: extracurricular activities, leadership, community service, and personal qualities to build a diverse student body. But I’ve seen Asian American students with stellar extracurricular activities and test scores get turned down by admissions officers time and time again. The only universities where this doesn’t happen is at the University of California, Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology, where a high number of Asians are accepted based on their qualifications.
For other competitive universities like Princeton, Harvard, or Stanford, this may not be the case. A quick look at a popular college admissions website collegeconfidential.com where students post their stats and scores shows strong, well-rounded students getting turned down every year. In reality, Asian American students are really competing against themselves within the 20% quota that Ivy Leagues place on Asians – which makes college admissions extremely competitive.
But despite this, I tell my students not to worry. Nearly all the clients that I have worked with are of Asian descent, yet I continue to place my students into the top universities every year despite seemingly insurmountable odds. The reason for this high success rate is because of my expertise in demonstrating their soft personality qualities that Ivy League admissions officers are looking for in every single one of my student’s applications. These come in the form of well-drafted and thought out personal statements and extracurricular involvement to show the depth and breadth of their leadership and commitment to their community.
Of course, getting national awards such as the annual Siemens Competition or Math and Science olympiads could definitely help and increase chances of admission – and which I encourage all of my students to pursue. But this isn’t what ultimately gets them in – getting these awards is merely the cherry on top that helps, but what’s even more important is putting together a convincing and well thought out college application to convince the admissions officers that you exhibit the leadership skills to contribute to the campus community and beyond.
It is only getting more and more competitive at the nation’s top universities, especially for Asian Americans if the enrollment rates with a cap of 20% continue to stay the same. But in life, and especially in college admissions, you’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt – and understanding how to succeed in this challenging environment is a crucial part of the process that I help walk all my students through.