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Here is the concluding part of the series on how to navigate through the college admissions process during the pandemic. In this post, I am talking about the key areas to focus on during Summer 2021 to enrich the profile and work on the application.
Students should prepare for the SAT/ACT to take up in August 2021. For those who are sitting for it in May 2021, should evaluate their performance and decide the next step.
PRO TIP: If deciding to reappear – then would suggest enrolling for one-on-one SAT/ACT classes to work on weak areas which will pump up the score definitely.
Target for SAT should be minimum 1480 and ACT should be 25+
For those students looking at abroad admissions, should prepare and take either IELTS or TOEFL. These scores are valid for 2 years and act as an essential part of the application.
The test is of English communication skills, which are pretty regular for school students. The only difference is that the format is different and needs to be adapted before attempting for the main exam.
PRO TIP: Instead of joining classes for this, I being a certified trainer for both IELTS and TOEFL, would suggest that school kids only need Mock Papers with evaluation and review before the exam date.
IELTS dates are available 4 times a month, if any student requires help in registration can approach me as I am a British council IELTS partner. Whereas for TOEFL, ETS has come in with Home Edition and centre edition, one should consult an expert before booking the exam. To avail $10 discount vouchers for TOEFL, please connect with me.
Opt for Online Courses to Strengthen Your Profile
Students should be encouraged to enroll for various online courses related to the major they aspire at the college level – this not only adds great value to the profile but also gives a broad insight into the chosen field. This step can bring down the stress levels of parents and make the students more confident about their next step. Learn about the best free online courses for high school students to improve college admission chances.
PRO TIP: Few sites where such courses can be found are – Coursera, Udemy, Edx, etc
Try taking in diverse courses over a short time.
One of the most integral parts of the application and needs a good time to manifest. Therefore, it is advised that students should start personal statement(s) during the summer itself.
Start with brainstorming the topics, read through some sample work to grasp an idea of the structure and word usage. Start penning down your ideas, and work through multiple drafts. Always remember to take professional feedback and every important thing be open to all critical ideas. Read how to write a great college essay.
PRO TIP: The more original the essay, the better are the chances of admission. Copying or getting someone to write on behalf can land the student into a mess.
Letters of Recommendation
Students should ideally start reviewing their teachers’ list to shortlist a minimum of 3 recommenders. The shortlisting needs to be done on various parameters like – years of association, type of association, and interaction with the teacher.
Once done, they should speak to the teachers and share a detailed list of activities done during high school both academic and non-academic. This will help the referees prepare a draft on behalf of the student to avoid delay during application time.
PRO TIP: For the university admission committee to evaluate your capabilities better, it is essential to choose a teacher who has known you for 3+ years on a regular basis.
Diversify the Profile
Apart from the academic skills that have and are being acquired, new skills learned either through certification courses or have any sort of experience add great value to the profile and should essentially be mentioned. Thus students should look out for opportunities themselves and enroll for the same.
It can be participation in any conferences or competition, extended essay, Olympiads – Science, Maths, or English, learning a new foreign language, or doing a soft skill course. These add-ons make the student stand out among the others and increase chances of admission.
PRO TIP: In the attempt of multi-tasking, don’t forget that each of the tasks needs focus and sincerity. Try balancing everything together and that is the challenge.
Building a Well-rounded Personality
In the last decade, the thought process of universities has changed to such an extent that now they believe in taking students who have a holistic and well-rounded personality.
Students with an impressive academic record, just can’t gain admission if not successful in showcasing that he/she is also working on skills to shape up towards developing an all-rounder personality. For instance, students can always build leadership skills by organizing events, cultural festivals, technical fest at schools, or conduct webinars.
PRO TIP: Being a part of community service and helping in organizing blood donation camp, or teaching underprivileged children or helping with day-to-day activities at an old age home can help in showcasing many skills of a candidate and also teach him/her some life realities which could come handy in the near future.
The way things are moving and after having spoken to few admission officers of college in different countries. In the near future, my observation says that the way college applications are reviewed and evaluated is up for a good change. The College Admission team is ready to let go of their checklist and face all sorts of challenges thrown at them with being sensitive and flexible.
Therefore, it is time that parents and students wake up and evolve with time. At any point, if a parent or a student needs to take a peek into my experiences or have a word to ease out their anxiety. I am always up for it.
Summer Activities That Will Boost A College Application