Well, sorry to break it to you, but the road to your dream college isn’t all about coming first in the rat race. Thousands of students make the same mistake every year, thinking that the secret to getting into their desired college is to tick off a list of lofty achievements.
In reality, the admission process is more about who you are and what you’re passionate about rather than being a mere competition to get the best scores.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into what it takes to reach the top tier of the projected 410,500 Ivy League applicants and, most importantly, the things you should not focus on.
Moonpreneur lists 4 Things you should NOT focus on as an IVY League Aspirant
Ivy League colleges want you to strive for excellence, not perfectionism. The colleges want their students to be future leaders in their respective fields, people who change the world for the better.
So they look for well-rounded individuals with a deep passion for a specific subject or a few subjects and can juggle well between their intellectual pursuits and other aspects of life.
Let’s consider an example where you dedicated yourself to the noble cause of “Feeding 10 Million People Every Year” but unfortunately fell short of achieving the intended goal. As an applicant, you may be hesitant to mention this project in your application, assuming that it could cast a negative impression on your profile.
However, contrary to this assumption, presenting such initiatives can improve your chances of admission to prestigious universities. These projects reflect your persistence and unwavering determination to initiatives, which holds significant value in the eyes of the admissions committee.
2. Impeccable test scores
A high GPA (Grade Point Average) is generally defined as being above 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Although a high GPA can help you make a solid first impression, you don’t need to chase perfect test scores obsessively.
If you find that your GPA is not meeting this standard, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only factor that determines your admission status.
Ivy League schools seek more than just academic prowess—they are looking for students who engage in leadership roles, demonstrate creativity in the projects they pursue, and show commitment toward making a positive impact in their communities. Pay attention to your school assignments, tests, and SAT prep, but don’t be mechanical about it. Also, participate in community service and pour your heart and soul into every task you undertake.
3. Too many extracurricular activities
You might think participating in a long list of prestigious extracurricular activities, such as varsity sports or national competitions, can earn you a ticket to your dream college, but it’s not the only way.
Ivy Leagues don’t want a jack of all trades. Instead of focusing on many, list down a few activities that you’re good at and strive to be the best in them. If you earnestly pursue your interests and make a difference in your community, you will inevitably make a positive impression on the admission officers.
Here are a few ideas that you can begin with to demonstrate your leadership skills, intellectual curiosity, and commitment to making a positive impact in your community:
4. Student Government
Joining your school’s student government can help you develop leadership skills, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities. Consider running for a leadership position or taking on a major project demonstrating your ability to make a positive change.
5. Debate Team
Participating in your school’s debate team can help you hone your critical thinking, public speaking, and persuasive abilities. It also shows you’re intellectually curious and willing to engage in thoughtful discussion and debate.
6. Science Olympiad
If you’re interested in pursuing a science or engineering degree, competing in your school’s Science Olympiad can demonstrate your passion for the field and ability to apply scientific concepts to real-world problems.
7. Research Projects
Researching a topic that interests you, whether it be in the humanities or the sciences, can demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and your ability to take the initiative in pursuing your interests.
Participating in a varsity or other athletic activity demonstrates your commitment, teamwork, and time management skills.
9. Overloading on AP courses
Taking up difficult courses can indeed help you get a higher weighted GPA, but that doesn’t mean Ivy League is looking for applicants who have taken every Advanced Placement (AP) course available.
They are more interested in students who pursue their academic inclinations with diligence and challenge themselves in ways that improve their acumen. So instead of tearing your hair over multiple AP courses, focus on 3-4 courses each year throughout high school, and excel in them.
During college preparation, don’t get bogged down by things that Ivy League don’t want. Instead, shift focus to your unique strengths and interests, and showcase them in the best possible way. Remember, you have to set yourself apart from the rest, not conform to what everyone else is doing.
Trying to fit your creative self into a mold can only lead to a loss of authenticity. Our tip is that besides academics and extracurriculars, devote time to do things that bring you joy, contribute to your personal growth, and bring a sense of fulfillment. Approach the admission process confidently, and you might succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
Moonpreneur offers STEM programs in robotics, game development, app development, and other futuristic sciences to help students build top-notch profiles and pursue their passion projects. Start your journey to success today!