Can I get into stanford and ivy's without winning awards and competitions. Answered
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Highly doubtful and there is a good reason for that. If you are great at something, you'll most likely have an award or honor to back that up. Some top applicants have multiple awards in multiple categories. Awards and honors typically go hand in hand with high achievement.
1. If you have perfect or near-perfect grades, you'll probably be given some honor for having such a transcript. (e.g National Honors Society, Valedictorian, Salutatorian)
2. If you have a perfect or near-perfect PSAT, SAT score, you'll probably get some honor for having achieved that. (National Merit Scholars program, US Presidential Scholars program)
3. If you have excellent AP scores, you'll probably either get AP Scholar with Honors or AP Scholar with Distinction (Avg of 3.5/5 over a min. of 5 tests). If you have 6 and 7s in IBs and earn an IB Diploma, well that's a significant honor and award.
4. If you are great at languages, you probably will get some awards for that. For instance, if you take French and excel at it, you'll be nominated as a Société Honoraire de Français member.
5. If you are great at STEM, you'll most likely have won some math olympiad, or science fair (INTEL), or some scholarship.
6. If you are great at community service, your mentors or people you work for will most likely issue a Service Award.
7. If you are a star Athlete, you will have been nominated to some State or National competition.
8. If you are a great Musician, you'll have a lengthy resume of awards and honors.
9. If you hold a leadership position in a club like DECA or Model UN or Debate Team or "We the People" Constitutional Law competition, you'll have some honor bestowed on you for your winning performance.
10, If you are a great writer or painter, you'll have some submissions that have won various competitions and been rewarded for that as well.
11. And if you have some combination of such awards, you'll probably have won some scholarships to help fund your path toward higher education. (Coca Cola, Gates, United Negro college fund, Dell, Horatio Alger, Questbridge, Jack Cooke Kent, etc.
In general, the typical Stanford or Ivy admits has at least some awards and honors. In fact, both Stanford and some Ivys fully expect you to show evidence of some intellectual curiosity or vitality and that can take on different forms. Sometimes they are awards from winning things from your independent research, sometimes it's an honor (if you are a guest Ted Talks speaker), and sometimes it's substantiated by getting your book published or your prototype built.
The caveat is if you are from a significantly underserved marginalized background where you had to work all 4 years of high school to support your family at a job like McDonald's or being a seasonal worker in the fields. Colleges are sensitive to those who had to step up and serve their low-income family and use all their free time for that. Or if you had to care for your disabled sibling or ill parent throughout HS. But if you didn't use all your free time for the purposes of caring for others who depended on you, colleges fully expect all they admit to having verifiable and tangible evidence of high achievement. And the other caveat would be if you are an International Student whose country was significantly affected by COVID-19 which prevented many ECs from happening. (But you only get a pass for the past year or so, not the first 3 years of HS).
Good luck and hope that clarifies why Awards and Honors go hand in hand with achievements.
It depends on what else you are doing. If you are doing tons of community service and other activities that don't involve awards, you probably don't need to win awards or attend competitions. If you have playing an instrument or writing down as an extracurricular, though, it might look odd if you have no awards/competitions listed.
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