3 months ago
Admissions Advice

CommonApp Academic Excellence Awards

Hi. I'm a senior who has to submit her application by November 1st.

My school counselor isn't helping me, so I am here to get help.

I got 12 academic excellence award in high school which is given to one student per class. In some classes, only one student is given for one whole grade/course (it all depends on how big the class is).

Anyways, I put my academic excellence award under the 'Honors' section, but since there is a limit of 100 characters, I was unable to sufficient describe which academic excellence awards I got.

In my case, I am living in a small city, so I don't have any competitions that has to do with my major. The only honors related to my major is this award. However, because of the word limit, I couldn't say that I got 5 science awards and 2 math awards throughout high school. Should I put this information under the 'Additional Information' section or is that too much? I want to list my awards by saying something like "I got the academic excellence award for , etc."

Would this be necessary? Thank you.


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2 answers

3 months ago

If someone reads your common app, they will know from your grades, test scores, class rank, recommendations, how well you wrote your essays, and other clues that you are one of the best students in your school. So using up all that space to delineate 12 separate awards is really not necessary. You can write a summary statement instead.

I feel if you just wrote something like "I received 12 academic excellence awards for being the best student in 12 different courses.", that's self-explanatory.

Most applicants do not worry too much about these kinds of awards because they want to highlight awards, honors, and achievements that cover a larger audience outside of school at the county, state, or national level. Not to take away any achievement from you, but it's really not necessary for applicants to say they were the best in History or Math or Physics in their grade, in that class, if the transcript, grades, recommendations, test scores, etc already support this. Most applicants rely on outside awards and honors to support that their academic achievements are valid and competitive within a bigger footprint.

Hmm. How can I give you an example of this? Okay. If you are selected as a US Presidential Scholar Finalist, that means that you are 1 of 150 seniors out of say 3.6 million eligible for the award. That award has major clout because you are competing with 3.6 million students in the entire country. This might be an extreme example but there are other awards or honors like being winning 1st prize in a state dance competition or piano recital or math Olympiad which clearly positions you as a very talented person. Unless you attend the very best high school in your state and everyone is a certifiable prodigy, it's hard for application readers to weigh (compare and contrast) what "best in the class" means at your school since they are evaluating other applications from students from other high schools in your district that may have different school profiles or offer more rigorous coursework.

Good luck.

3 months ago

Hi! I wouldn't worry about specifying this too much, especially if you have other ECs, good grades, etc. on your application. I would say use those 100 characters to say how many of the awards you've won. If they don't have to do specifically with the major you're applying for, then I really wouldn't worry about being overly specific. Hope this helps, good luck!! :)


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