Every aspiring study abroad student dreams of studying at one of the top international universities however, only a few manage to get admission. Securing admission in top universities like Stanford, Princeton, Yale or Oxford is not easy as the competition is always high and being top-notch these colleges focus a lot on quality. For instance, their acceptance rate is 10% or less as the kind of student profiles they accept have high standards. Evidently, getting admission to one of the top study abroad universities is a milestone achieved for anyone, as it not just guarantees high-quality education but also helps with job placement later. Students from top universities hardly ever face issues with finding jobs. They get placed easily with campus recruitments in reputed multinational companies globally. With so many advantages every student aspires to apply to these universities but let’s be aware of the fact that it takes a lot of focus and preparation to meet their admission standards and fulfill all the requirements.
Let’s look at some of the steps involved that can help students prepare well to increase their chances of acceptance in a high-ranking university abroad:
The list is as per usnews.com based on their annual ranking that gauge universities on 13 primary indicators that measure their academic research performance, global and regional reputations.
A good score is still an important factor in securing admission to one of the top universities abroad. If you are ambitious enough then staying focused on securing good grades or scores is vital to achieving your goal. Good scores are not just high numbers or grades they also reflect on the fact that the student set high standards and goals for herself or himself and was focused throughout her/his study period to achieve them. It is about students setting up challenging goals for themselves and working successfully towards achieving them.
Staying focused in high school on scoring a high GPA is a good start made. Though most of the top universities be it in the USA, Canada, UK or Australia do not publish their GPA requirements but going by the past trend an average of around 4.0 is preferred. Looking at these students primarily with A grades or B+ in high school manage to get a GPA of around 4.0.
Along with a high GPA, test scores are equally important for securing admission in a top study abroad university. Scoring high on SAT, ACT or GRE/GMAT tests is crucial for securing admission in a reputed university abroad. Top universities have a high number of applicants every year, GPA and test scores act as the first level of filter for the admission committee. Understanding this factor, students should aim to score high in standardized admission tests as it gives them a chance to stand out in a pile of admission applications.
High scores are not a guarantee to admission in top universities however considering they act as a preliminary differentiating factor; it is always good to focus on securing high grades. Though during the admission process a student’s overall profile is taken into consideration by evaluators, high scores on the application always count towards an impressive start.
Early decision (ED) is a binding agreement between the student and a college in which the student agrees that s/he will attend that college should an admission offer be made by a university. A student can only apply to 1 college ED. Applying this way can considerably improve one’s chances of acceptance in one of the top universities abroad. However, there are certain factors to be taken into consideration before applying ED. Apply only when you are sure of taking the admission and completing all the required formalities if an offer is made by a university. As apply through ED means a commitment to attending that particular university, under ED acceptance a student will have to withdraw applications from all other universities.
Early action (EA) is an early admission type offered by some universities in the United States. EA requires students to submit their application by mid-October or early November of senior year of high school instead of January 1. As a result, students are notified of the school’s decision by early January instead of the regular mid-March or May 1.
Unlike Early Decision (ED), in Early Action (EA) students are not bound to attend a university if an admission offer is made. Under EA type students have the option of declining the offer of acceptance. Many universities and colleges in the US offer EA and there are some that offer both EA and ED. It is possible for students seeking admission in top universities to apply to more than one ED university, unlike EA where students can apply to only one university.
Applying through ED/EA is advantageous to students who are sure and confident about attending a particular university and studying particular programs. According to Business Insider, the Early Decision/Action acceptance rates for the class of 2021 show how much better ED/EA applicants’ chances are:
This may sound obvious but it is surprising how only a few adhere to it. Being authentic in this context means a student should really follow her/his passion when it comes to activities beyond classroom studies or extracurricular activities. Top universities strive to develop their students in a way that they can later in their professional careers contribute to the community or world at large in a constructive way. They aspire their students to make path breaking discoveries or contributions to the world, and this is evident with their history and alumni.
It is not possible for anyone to predict what a student will do post completion of her/his studies. Hence the admission process is been designed in a manner that helps the admission committee gauge aspiring students on certain parameters that can help them identify high potential ones easily. Keeping this requirement in focus, extracurricular activities become important for a student while preparing to apply for admission in a high-ranking college.
Students should make efforts to genuinely follow their interests from early on. Be it community service, joining a hobby class, or pursuing a particular sport the reason behind investing time in a particular activity should be authentic. This shows one’s passion for a specific subject and also commitment to gain and enhance in-depth knowledge about it. Investing in activity only because it’s popular as everyone else is doing may not be the best thing to do until the activity genuinely interests you. Top universities are deliberate about providing a well-rounded environment to their students. They want students with varied interests in each program so that everyone attending the class gets ample opportunity to learn from each other and exposure to varied perspectives. This is vital for the development of real-world skills such as leadership, networking, problem solving, team and people management skills in students.
It doesn’t matter what activity one follows, what matters to the evaluators are the reasons behind it and what one has gained from it. Failing is also a part of the learning process, thus, students who are aware of this and are authentic enough to highlight both failures and successes stand a better chance to make a positive mark with their admission application. This is important for the admission committee as whatever the students have learnt through their extracurricular activities –leadership, time management or any other skill or discipline they will bring their learning to action on-campus too. The ability to focus on one’s core interests is an important deciding factor for top universities as it counts in the making of a specialist in any subject or area. Thus, being authentic is an important factor while applying to high-ranking universities abroad.
Essays are as important as they can get for an admission application to international universities, more so when they are top-ranking ones. Top universities are more competitive than the regular ones as the number of applications is higher. After all, every student dreams of graduating from Harvard or Oxford. As we are talking about top-ranking universities all the applicants that make it beyond the first level of selection processes have impressive scores and extracurricular activities to show for themselves. So, the only opportunity to show your personal side in the admission application is the personal essay (Interview at a later stage).
As an international student applying to universities abroad, a personal essay in the admission application becomes even more important as it acts as an opportunity for evaluators to know you as a person- your character, reasons for applying, future plans, etc.
A well-written essay will always make the right impression on its readers. Remember the evaluators are not some machines or a bot they are real people who can tell a good essay from a bad one. They will be able to tell which essay is an authentic one and which one is fake or has been copied from somewhere. So, while drafting the essay it is important to be yourself. That way you will be able to express yourself better and the reader too will enjoy reading through the essay.
Remember the purpose of including a personal essay is to convince the evaluators that you are the right fit for their university, its culture and values. Including reasons to applying to a particular college, focusing on the outcome and what you stand to achieve out of it as an individual, looking to experience a different culture and why, how your future goals match with the university and program applied for –these are some of the points you can reflect on to answer them as authentically as possible in your personal essay. Do not focus too much on the ranking of a university as the reason for you to apply there. Such mistakes will make you come across as a student who doesn’t have a vision for herself/himself. Along with these points, you should also focus on providing relevant information about yourself that is not available elsewhere in the application. This will make the essay more engaging for the readers.
There is a reason for including a letter of recommendation in the application process. Talking for self and providing evidence thereof is one thing but getting recommendations from others is another. It adds credibility to the claims you have made about yourself in the application. Letters of recommendation from credible sources are even more important for international students. Most of the top universities have a requirement of at least two to three letters of recommendation with every application. The LORs should be from credible professionals who know you well enough to give a positive recommendation. They can be your professors, employers, coaches, etc.
The letter of recommendation should be genuine, as it is easy to identify a fake one that is a two-line recommendation letter or one with a template and full of adjectives. A good letter of recommendation should throw light on you as a good student or a professional with specific example/s that highlight your personal traits. Besides your academic abilities like academic achievements, your aptitude, drive, motivation, personal qualities that focus on behavioural skills like integrity, respect for all, the LOR should also include your specific accomplishments and qualities that make you suitable for the university and program applied for.
As a student seeking LORs from your seniors, you should be willing to spend time requesting recommendations and follow-ups. Most of the people who write LORs are senior people and thus are hard-pressed for time. As a strategy, start requesting for LORs well in advance so that you have enough time in hand to follow up. To get specifics mentioned in your LORs you will have to brief the person with all the relevant details and be patient with it. The advantage with LORs is that once received they can be used for different universities. Hence, it is important to see that the LOR does not include any university name in the original copy.
These are some of the important points to bear in mind while preparing to apply to top study abroad universities. As an international student, the application process needs to be approached very carefully as it is the only way to make the right impression on the admission officers. It is always a good idea to take professional help as it will not only help draft a professional application but will also help save a lot of time.
If you want to study in a top-ranking university in the USA, UK. Canada, Australia, Germany or New Zealand act now. At Manya, we provide admission consulting services to help you reach a goal of studying in a high-ranking international university. As a study abroad consultant we have helped thousands of students like you make it to their dream colleges. So, contact our counselors today to experience a smooth process to your admission into a top international university. Also, get unlimited support on applications, essays, scholarships, and programs available.
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