2
4 months ago
Admissions Advice

Is it a good idea to email colleges to ask if I can submit a research paper to them if not mentioned on their website?
Answered

I'm just asking the titular question in general for T20s that do not set any specific requirements regarding scientific research papers. Also, would it even be beneficial to submit one if they don't have it as a requirement/option listed on the website? Thanks in advance!

IvyLeague
research
T20
2
7

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3 answers

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Accepted Answer
4 months ago[edited]

No, it is not a good idea to email them for the following reasons.

1. If the T20 colleges don't have a specific language for submitting research papers, one can deduce that they do not want them. MIT and Brown encourage applicants to use their Slide Room to upload research papers. But to assume Columbia or UChicago wants a research paper is incorrect.

2. If you ask email a busy admissions office for specific clarification because you have a unique circumstance like finding out how your disability will be supported on campus if you apply, then go for it. However, if your question can be answered or deduced from specific application instructions both on the Common or Coalition App or their proprietary Application, then you are wasting their time.

3. College Admissions readers on average spend 10 minutes reading your entire application file which includes all your transcripts, essays, recommendations, supplemental essays, and short answers plus and other optional information. Suffice it to say, they are already time-constrained already and force to skim over parts that are not critical to their decision-making.

4. Getting into a T20 is not a bidding war or solely based on a meritocratic process. Showing a T20 you are smarter sometimes is a futile exercise. While they may cite they are using a holistic process, it is an accelerated 10-minute holistic process that only serves the college trying to pick the best students that fit the goals and narrative of the desired incoming Freshman class. They are not debating on how smart someone is but rather whether they fit the needs and goals of how the college wants to "shape" itself.

5. Some applications like Princeton ask applicants to upload a graded 1-2 page paper. If you feel that is a green light to upload a 15-20 page research paper with footnotes, just be on notice that the probabilities of the application reader taking an extra 20 minutes to read your work in its entirety are very low. You may get a "ding" for not following instructions.

Good luck.

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0
4 months ago[edited]

Although it sounds like a worthwhile idea, if admissions does not ask for it I would be very careful. They have so many applications and finite resources so extremely likely it wouldn't be included in your evaluation - if it is read at all. Perhaps they could even get aggravated (?). Would assume admissions wants to make evaluations based on the same criteria versus other candidates. Would suggest excelling on the criteria they ask for in the application such as the essays etc.

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-2
4 months ago

You can include it in the additional info section!

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