I'm in the process of applying to Ivy League colleges, and I'm wondering how I can make my application stand out. What are some key tips for crafting a compelling personal essay or statement of purpose? Additionally, how important are extracurricular activities in the admissions process, and what can I do to showcase my involvement effectively?
This is a long-winded response, but I hope you'll still be able to find it useful. I'm not affiliated with any Ivy League schools, however these are the big things that I found during my searches that I think make a lot of sense!
1) Making a great application for an Ivy is a hard-earned goal, but is still very achievable. Making an application stand out, on the other hand is raising the difficulty of your task monumentally. For many IL schools, they receive around 40,000 applications. Those applications are full of the best of the best from all around the country (and the world). Incredible is standard for IL applications, to make your application stand out amongst the crowd you need to be a uniquely amazing applicant, which is something that takes years unfortunately.
2) Crafting an amazing essay, luckily, is a much easier, although still hard, task. There's so many great ways and resources but my favorites are 'The College Essay Guy' on Youtube (that is his actual name and he is seriously an amazing tool), literally just reading other people's college essays (there's a bunch you can find online), and also shoutout to collegevine I love their peer review essay system (I'd suggest sending yours in but also reviewing others').
3) You asked about extracurricular activities (ECs). If you're applying to Ivy League schools or any other prestigious American universities, they all use holistic review (fancy for they don't just look at grades, or just at ECs, or just at standardized tests). Your ECs are very important because they give the admission officer(s) a chance to get to know you through your experiences and accomplishments. Your ECs should compliment your essay(s) and show a strong personal narrative about who you are and why you're so amazing. Write about your most important or significant ECs in your essays if that works for you!
Overall, remember that all admissions boil down to 'showing yourself off'. Don't be afraid to be quirky. Like I said before, incredible is the standard for IL schools, being incredible is no guarantee for your application, but admission officers love hearing about your affinity for beekeeping or how you helped your grandmother while she was sick. (I based my college essay off of my love for buzzfeed quizzes and it worked lol).
PS: The unfortunate part about getting into an Ivy is that there is a LOT of luck involved. Sometimes your essay ends up in the stack they eat before lunch and sometimes it ends up in the stack they eat after. If you really have your sights on an Ivy, you can always try again after a gap year or try to transfer after some time at community college.
Best of luck,
I have written a article on essays many students found very helpful: collegevine.com/c/junior/49537/make-your-essay-stand-out
If you have more essay specific questions, I would be happy to help! I have reviewed many application essays and attended exclusive webinars with real admissions officers so I have a little insight on what they actually want or don't want to see. Please reach out with any questions!
Hi! Your extracurricular activities are important to boost your college application, most of the time, SAT, GPA is the most important, and then ECs are 2nd most important, so a good EC is very important. For showing your involvement and essay, I think your personal experience would be the best, each person's experience differs from others, colleges may get a lot of people similar to you in terms of academics, scores, and even ECs, but when they choose out of those similar groups, your essay will be important. So talk about your personal experience.
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