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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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What honors and awards should I highlight in my college application?

Hey everyone, I've got quite a few academic honors and some awards from various contests. I'm trying to figure out which ones are the most significant and relevant to include on my college applications. Does anyone have advice on how to pick the best ones? Do colleges prefer national awards over local ones, or is it more about the level of achievement?

7 months ago

When selecting honors and awards to highlight on your college application, focus on the ones that best represent your highest levels of achievement and dedication. National awards typically hold more weight because they imply a higher level of competition; however, the impact of local awards can be significant, especially if they demonstrate leadership or unique contributions to your community. Consider the selectivity of the award too—recognitions granted to many students are less impactful than those earned by only a few. Categorize your awards using the Tier system; Tier 1 being the most rare and prestigious, followed by Tier 2, and so on. Highlight Tier 1 and Tier 2 awards prominently.

You should also reflect on how each award aligns with your intended field of study or showcases a consistent theme of your interests and academic strengths. For example, if you have received awards in scientific research and plan to major in a STEM field, those should be prioritized over unrelated accolades. Remember, though, that a well-rounded portfolio can also be appealing, so don’t discount an award simply because it’s not related to your major if it demonstrates exceptional accomplishment or a unique skill. Lastly, ensure your descriptions are clear about why each honor is significant, which can add context and weight to your accomplishments.

7 months ago

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