10 months ago
Admissions Advice

What are some examples of tier one and tier two activities in the STEM field?

sophomore :)


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Accepted Answer
10 months ago

So I want to clarify some of McKellars points.

Attending a university is only a tier 1 if it’s super competitive and more or less free (application fee and cost of living ie food is okay) but you shouldn’t pay for the program itself.

Formal research is super complicated but in my firm estimate it’s hardly tier 1 and more like a high 3/low 2 most of the time. Research doesn’t always get published and even if it does it’s not in the most prestigious magazines like Nature or other same caliber mags. Also for maximum impact you should listed as a co-author not just “lab help” or something similiar.

I agree with national awards being Toer 1 but make sure it’s a competitive field as winning a cons test no one knows isn’t impressive.

Being in the news can be good if it’s for a good thing but being on your local ABC channel isn’t tier 1 caliber.

Also his/her quote of “ Also, starting a STEM initiative, club, or mentorship program is helpful as well.” I agree it’s helpful but these aren’t tier 1 except in extraordinary circumstances.

As for “flukes of luck” those are tier 1. And internships are tier 1 if it’s through a competitive process and you have meaningful tasks and aren’t just the coffee caddy.

National competition can be tier 1 but it should be nationals not national circuit or something.

Also honor societies at least HS ones are FAR from tier 1 or even 2 unless you are president and have super extensive accomplishments.

Now with my answer to “What are Tier 1 extracurriculars?”

A Tier 1 is ultimately the pinnacle of that field such as running a very successful buisness that you founded. It also is super selective and if it is an organization run activity such as SciOlympaid or something similiar there should be no cost associated with regular competition besides travel costs.

The extracurricular should also be something that is focused on you specifically as in your team winning the state football championship isn’t it. Even if you are a starting player that is a team accomplishments and what you’d be judged on is individual accomplishments. If you win state it may improve you but you aren’t the team. Same for SciOlympiad.

It’s fine if it’s small team based such as a duo event.

Another example is being a YouTuber with 500k subs as that is hard individual work.

In essence tier 1 are what the top 1% of the 1% are. They have become the top of thier field.

Tier 2 is largely the same but instead of national it’s state and this might be the top 25%

Tier 3 is community/school based such as president of a school club or being a varsity member of a science club.

Tier 4 are in my likely overtly harsh words “gimmicks” maybe impressive gimmicks but still gimmicks. These may be being a member of a club sporadic volunteering or generally any one can do this with no barrier to entry excerpt time.

I really hope this helps and definitely comment if youd like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help.

10 months ago

Attending a very prestigious summer institute like TASP or RSI add lots of value to an application. Formal research is good too, and top tier would be nationally published. Winning National Awards or being in the NEWS would also be amazing. Also, starting a STEM initiative, club, or mentorship program is helpful as well. Other examples include 'crazy things' like Nobel Prize, Jeopardy, and more. More include intern for NASA or National Competitions or Honor Socities.


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