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5 months ago
Admissions Advice

¿Academic Distinctions?
Answered

Hi, my name is Alexia, I'm an international student (Peru), applying to a college in the USA. I've been asked to list my academic distinctions or honors; however, since I come from a small school, I've never participated in any competitions, apart from a spelling bee in kindergarten (which I lost). Would this hinder my chances of getting in? There is also a list of extracurriculars (which I do have).

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@CameronBameron5 months ago

Just ask the question 1 time not 3 times. It would be more courteous to the other users of the Q & A.

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Accepted Answer
5 months ago

Alexia, whether or not having no academic distinctions will negatively impact you will depend on how competitive a college you wish to apply to. Remember there are over 4300 colleges in the US and most people tend to only focus on the 5% of them which still is over 200 schools. That is because of branding, clout, and that they are most memorable.

If your goal is to get in the hardest Tier 1 schools like the Top 20 which includes the Ivy League, Stanford, Duke, MIT, Caltech, U Chicago, then to make up for no academic distinctions would require you to have a very compelling application with amazing extracurriculars and leadership experience.

As you work your way down the competitive scale, you will find that it's less important to have academic honors and the main criteria for Top 200 schools would be your GPA, your course rigor (how many challenging classes you took), test scores like the ACT or SAT, your ability to communicate effectively in English (100+ TOEFL, 7.0+ IELTS, and 125+ Duolingo score) and your ability to write great essays.

If you are Top student then, having 1 or 2 gaps in your application will not get you rejected. So it's important that you compensate for these deficiencies with other stats or experiences.

Although the chancing engine is primarily for American applicants, I encourage you to fill out a chancing profile (pretend to be an American) and be as complete as possible. While it will not be the best tool to help you assess whether you have a good chance at the list of schools you wish to apply to, it's better than completely guessing.

Good luck and feel free to ask other questions when as you need more information to help you make an informed decision.

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