Today, more than ever, American top universities seek academic excellence as a pre-requisite for admissions. As numbers and quality of applicants from around the world increase, the academic standards also increase. Competition is fierce, especially among students from China demonstrating truly outstanding test records and academic rigor. While many schools say ‘it depends’ when asked “what grades (or test scores) do I need to be accepted?” the fact is schools do have a profile that applicants should meet. Oftentimes, not meeting these requirements is reason not to be admitted. For example, there is a strong relationship SAT score and school national ranking.
So, what does it take to be admitted into a top American university if grades are good and acceptance depends on more than a test result?
The number ONE factor schools explore – particularly among top national and liberal arts schools, – is how well you will integrate and contribute to the school’s community. It’s not as simple as saying you can do it or that you will do it. Admissions officers probe into your activities inside and outside of the school environment. They explore your interests, involvement; roles and level of active participation in whatever subject you say you are passionate. These qualities are assessed form your personal essays, letters of recommendation, how you spend time outside of school and during summer months.
Admissions officers seek to understand your interest in their school and your emotional connection to it. They might even ask you to have an interview with a school representative or alumni.Admissions officers need to see demonstrated interest, passion better yet, that demonstrates you will immerse, thrive and contribute to their broad university community. We have found that applicants that take a strategic view, develop interpersonal skills and develop clear areas of interests tend to be admitted into highly selective universities.
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