Experts' Guide to US College Applications
September 15, 2022
To help and guide students and their parents, we created a 10-Segment Podcast Series with Experts - A Guide to Build Standout US Application.
Applications to US Colleges are “Holistic”, meaning that colleges look beyond the grades and test scores, and evaluate an applicant in totality.
In this article, we have identified the key components of that holistic US college application, with index to the relevant Experts' guidance:
1. College Application Strategy
To create a strategy to build a standout application:
To do the above, here is a 2-Step Process:
Working Vision is a self-portrait. It is a picture of yourself to show to colleges who you are, what you care about, and why you're a good fit for their college.
To create a Working Vision, we break it down into three categories that are going to correspond to three different sentences.
These three categories align with what a lot of schools are looking for in their criteria. and they help you think about how you show that you're bound for future success.
=> To create your Working Vision and for more details and examples, refer to the Podcast on Application Strategy.
2. About Extracurriculars
Extracurriculars can be a vehicle for understanding a student's personality in a way that grades just aren't able to capture. We know that in so many other systems, admission to universities is driven primarily by the grades and the test scores. It's very quantitative. US colleges are all about holistic admissions.
There are number of ways to provide the information about your Extracurriculars in the Application:
There are so many ways that you can use extracurriculars to help make the case that you have what it takes to not only get into that college, but to really contribute once you reach campus.
=> To build your Extracurricular List, and to get more details, refer to the Podcast on Extracurriculars.
3. College Essays - What and How to Write
The “What to Write?” is a 2-Step Process:
A Substantiating Narrative is like a movie about that trait - tell the story of how it started, how you developed or invested in that trait, and an ending that, for example, positions you for the future you envision.
=> To develop your Substantiating Narrative for your college essay and guidance check out the Podcast on What to Write.
The “How to Write” entails the following:
=> To create drafts of your college essay here is a comprehensive discussion on the Podcast on How to Write.
4. College Selection
The question before you is “How to pick colleges that are right for you?”
To answer this question, you have to take an approach, I will call Funneling, whereby you can systematically & iteratively refine the list of Colleges to arrive at a bunch of colleges that would be right for you:
=> To make an Initial List of Colleges listen or read the transcript to the Podcast on Building the Initial List.
With that Initial List,
=> To build your Final List of Colleges see the strategies in the 3 Case Studies on the Podcast on Narrowing the College List.
5. Financial Aid
There are two main kinds of financial aid: Merit-based which is given on the basis of academic merit, or athletic merit. Then there is what's called Need-based, which is given on the basis of a family's financial need.
Now, both of these are essentially discounts on the cost of education.
=> If you are applying for Merit-based Financial Aid, check out the information on the Podcast on Merit-based Financial Aid.
If you follow the set of the steps and the work on the deliverables in each step, you should have the main pieces of the application done and you would be well on your way to completing your college application.
Many thanks to College Counselors Athena Lao, Rob Franklin, Nick Wyville from Admissionado and Ben Stern from IvyAchievement for making the Series possible with their expertise and support.
To learn more or for additional guidance and listen to the 10-Segments or Read the Transcripts of the Podcast Series A Guide to Build Standout US Application.