How The Coronavirus Has Upended College Admissions
As stressful as it always is for students applying to college, this year it’s all that and then some for the admissions officials trying to decide whether to admit them. Because of the pandemic, many students will be applying without standardized test scores and several other metrics admissions officers at selective schoolshave long relied on, leaving colleges scrambling to figure out what else they might consider instead.
“So many things that were sacred in the college admissions process may not be sacred anymore,” said Angel Pérez, CEO of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, and former head of admissions at Trinity College in Connecticut. “Colleges and universities are reinventing a process that hasn’t changed in over 50 years in the span of a couple of months and they don’t have another choice.”
Indeed, students’ applications may be missing not only SAT and ACT scores, but also a semester or two of grades, since schools switched to pass/fail grading when they went online, or closed altogether. Schools will also have to make do without a semester’s worth or more of extracurricular activities sports, band, theater, volunteering and anything else that would help distinguish applicants from one another.
The near-panic is reverberating on campuses around the nation, where deans are used to taking much more staid and studied steps.
Rule #: Use The Fields Strategically
You only have a precious 150 characters with which to demonstrate your duties and achievements with each activity. Many students make the mistake of restating , their role, the name of the organization, or the years in which they participated in the description box. The smarter move is to instead state all of this information in the 50 character Activity Name section and through the checkboxes provided in which to indicate your years of participation.
Avoiding redundancy will save you space and allow you to properly flesh out your description of what you actually did that is impressive. Heres an example of a right and wrong way to execute this strategy:
Activity Name: Editor, The Muse Literary Magazine
Wasteful Activity Description: Edited poems and works of fiction for The Muse, our high schools literary magazine, from sophomore year to present.
As you can see, most of the 150 character space to show-off achievements was wasted with information that was already stated elsewhere.
- We already know that you were the editor from your title.
- We already know that you edited The Muse and this is your schools lit mag.
- You already checked off that you participated in the activity from 10th-12th
Better Activity Description: Managed staff of seven students in creating monthly periodical earned First Class Distinction from National Council for Teachers of English in 2018.
How To Handle Disciplinary Violations On Applications
As I mentioned above, students are going to have to disclose the violation, if the college asks. On most applications, they will need to check the box saying that they do have a discipline record to disclose. When they do so, they will be prompted to provide details. This is NOT the time to make excuses, blame other people, etc. This is the time to accept personal responsibility, be apologetic, and briefly state what they have learned from their actions. Again, that will be much harder to do if there are multiple infractions in the record.
I know of one case where the teen was able to turn their suspension into a positive, by writing about it in their essay. In their case, they had been involved in a fight, after a bullying incident. While they took ownership of his actions that resulted in suspension, they also demonstrated that they were of good character. Not every students disciplinary situation is one that will lend itself to an essay though.
It is also a good idea to have the guidance counselor address the issue in their recommendation, assuming they can be positive. The student needs to ask specifically for the guidance counselor to address it, but also ask directly what the counselor will say. Ideally, the counselor will address it, more like, This student has shown great character throughout their high school years, except for this minor lapse instead of saying something like, This student knew the consequences of their actions and chose to ignore the rules.
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See What Else Goes On A Resume For College
What to put on a college resume?
Put anything that makes you stand out.
Here are some examples of what to put on resumes for college:
- Class Rank if its impressive.
- Jobs. Jobs show work ethic on college admission resumes.
- Awards. Essay competitions, speaking, chess club, etc.
- Volunteer Work. Red Cross, bake sales, crowdfunding.
- Projects. Have you done public service or built a website? Projects show your dedication to a goal.
- Social Media Followings. Have you built a following on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter? That shows communication and persistence.
- Passions. Have you done lots of paintings? Read a ton of books? Passions show youve got the drive to learn something that matters.
- Sports. Dont just list sports on a college resume. Add accomplishments like races won or records broken.
- Positions. List captainships, Eagle Scout rank, or positions in church or 4-H groups. Those all energize high school resumes for college.
- Hobbies. Are you good a fishing? Crafts? Hobbies prove you can work toward a goal.
- Languages. Command of a foreign language looks great on college application resumes.
Double your impact with a matching resume and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.
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Haven’t written your cover letter yet? See:
College Application Resume Template Examples
Use this resume section as an example of how to write and format your own accomplishments. The Balance also provides several resume templates you can use to condense your achievements into an easy-to-read format.
- Graduated third in a class of 425 students
- Attended Harvard University s Summer Pre-Law Program
- Treasurer, Student Government Association, Grades 9-12
- Captain, Soccer Team, St. Georges High School, Laramie, WY, Fall 20XX Spring 20XX
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Advice On Putting Together Your Application
Students commonly want to know what part of the college application carries the most weight. The truth is, there are many parts to your application, and together they help us discover and appreciate your particular mix of qualities. Academic criteria are important to Yales selective admissions process, but we look at far more than test scores and grades.
Every applicant brings something unique to the admissions committee table. Perhaps one application stands out because of sparkling recommendations, while another presents outstanding extracurricular talent maybe your personality shines through a powerful written voice, or maybe your keen mathematical mind packs more punch. Our goal is to assemble a diverse, well-rounded student body, and that means admitting exceptional individuals of all types. You may find this answer unsatisfying, but we assure you that it is true: the part of the application that carries the most weight is different from applicant to applicant.
This section of our website aims to help you submit the very best application possible. We asked admissions officers to weigh in with their own thoughts on each topic and we have compiled their responses below. We know that the application process can be confusing, daunting, even overwhelming, and we hope this page proves helpful as you compile your applications, not only to Yale but to every school on your list.
Activities To Boost Your College Application
How to boost your college application? Schools may still be closed, stopping you from participating in your sport, club, or other hobby, but that doesnt mean you shouldnt continue with fun extracurricular activities or rack up the community service hours you need. College admissions staff want to see a combination of dedication and leadership, and weve got a slew of ideas for how you can continue to pursue your passions while stuck at home. And trust us, staying engaged with extracurriculars will not only keep you busy, itll strengthen your college application and help you stand out.
Heres our list of top ten online extracurriculars and volunteer opportunities that can help boost your college application:
- Learn a new language on a free app like DuoLingo.
- Strengthen your resume or land a new job by learning a new skill. Check out our list on building skills from home!
- Volunteer online – check out Volunteer Match for virtual opportunities near you or reach out to your local UnitedWay.
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Final Thoughts On Drafting Your College Application
As you apply to college remember that details count. Watch the spelling, be honest, and dont exaggerate.
Essays are important. Start early, take your time, proofread and proofread again.
You may still get into your dream school even if your resume isnt perfect and you havent checked off all of the boxes .
Schools are looking for passion, intellectual curiosity, and a willingness to challenge yourself. Now is the time to put your best foot forward! Given this, a B in a hard course where you challenged yourself is more impressive than an A in an easy course.
How To Write An Activities Rsum For College Applications
When you apply to colleges, its important to highlight whatever qualities will set you apart. Most college applications will require your transcripts, an essay, and an activities résumé, each of which are your opportunity to emphasize your accomplishments and proudly exhibit what you bring to the table. Your activities résumé especially gives college admissions officers a quick yet comprehensive glimpse into who you are as a person, not just as a student. This is your time to shine, so be thoughtful and thorough as you compile the information you want colleges to see.
Resumes are not just for job seekers in the career world. As a student, a well-executed activities résumé has the ability to set your application apart and give you a competitive edge. Colleges of Distinction has mustered up some important points for you to include as well as some extra tips to consider as youre writing.
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Im Hispanic/latino But Hispanic/latino Is Considered An Ethnicity And Not A Race On The Common App Which Race Should I Select
The Common App first asks students whether or not they are Hispanic/Latino. After that, students are then asked to select one or more of the following racial options, regardless of their answers to the last question: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or White.
If you are Hispanic/Latino and unsure of what to list as your race, you have several options. Most Hispanic/Latino individuals are a mixture of African, European, and Native American races. If you identify with one these races, select that option. If not, you may put all three, or none at all. Keep in mind that you do not have to answer this question, and so if you feel that listing your ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino and not including a race best reflects your personal racial identity, then you should do so.
Rule #: Understand The Order Of Operations
In math, we remember the order of operations through the presumably embarrassing behavior of our Dear Aunt Sally . To date, no helpful mnemonic exists for the order in which you should list activities on your Common App, yet it is extremely important to master the rules of this game. One frequent move is listing your activities in pure chronological order which is highly problematic. If you were asked to succinctly tell someone a captivating version of your life you wouldnt lead off with:
Baby/Toddler, 2002-2005Passed meconium, cried, cried some more, mastered object-permanence, etc.
Putting your most important activities first is the way to go. This may flow in something close to a reverse chronological order since the activities that most demonstrate your passion, leadership, and abilities are likely ones that you stuck with over the years. While there may be no hard and fast set of rules telling you to address parenthesis before exponents, there is a correct thought-process to adopt while ordering your activities.
Sample thought process
As we help Mark decide how to order these three activities lets review some important considerations. We are looking to give preference for activities that
- You plan to continue in college.
- Demonstrate commitment and dedication.
- You have participated in state or national-level competitions .
- Show off your leadership skills.
- Are recent.
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I Dont Identify With Any Of The Races Listed On The Common App What Do I Do
You can choose to leave the question about race blank, and if you choose to do so, discuss your race/racial identity in other parts of your application. For instance, you could mention or elaborate on your racial identity in one of your essays and flesh out your identity and its importance to you in detail. Prompt One of the Common App is particularly conducive to this kind of topic.
Another option is to include your racial identity in the Additional Information section of the Common App. For more assistance regarding the Additional Information section, check out CollegeVines guide to the Additional Information section.
Still have questions about filling out the Common Application? Check out our blog post How to Write the Common Application Essays 2019-2020.
Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances? and get access to our essay guides and courses. You can also get your essay peer-reviewed and improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students essays.
What Is An Academic Honor Or Award
First things first, what counts as an academic honor or award?
Generally speaking, an academic honor or award is any major achievement youve made and been recognized for in some way. The form of recognition can range from an actual object, such as a trophy or plaque, to prize money, a title, or verbal recognition.
Typically, an academic honor will fall into one of the following categories:
- Distinction, honor, or honorable mention for which you wont usually receive a physical object or awardjust the title
- A diploma or certificate indicating the completion of a program or recognizing an accomplishment in a program or other activity
- Prize or award won from a contest, competition, or tournament
- Scholarship given in recognition of an outstanding accomplishment
- Membership in a highly selective and competitive group or society
If youve won any awards for specific activities such as a sport you play or a club youre part of, its better to list these in the extracurricular activities section of your application instead of in a separate awards section.
So what are some honors and awards to put on a college application? Up next, we’ll take a look at more than 70 academic honors examples.
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Put Weight On Your Education
Taking into consideration that, as a student, you most likely lack significant work experience, your education is the first thing admission officers will look at.
As such, you should give your education its due importance in your college application resume.
For starters, make sure to include this must-have information:
- Your high schools name and location
- Your GPA
- The date of your graduation
In addition, though, combine that with some relevant achievements that can make your education pop out.
Lets take a look at two examples. The second student has simply listed out the essential education information, whereas the first has taken their education section to the next level.
- 3rd place at the International Mathematical Olympiad
- Vice-President of the Science Club
- GPA: 3.6
- SAT Scores: 1350
- SAT Scores: 1400
College Application Resume Formatting Tips
Before we dive into the nits and grits of CV making, lets talk about formatting. Here are our top tips on how to format your college application resume:
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Are Gpa And Test Scores The Only Best Things To Have For College
GPA and test scores are very important for applications. Basically, if you fall below the average GPA or test score ranges for your college of choice, you need something else in your application to compensate.
However, academics are only one thing to consider of many. Besides the fact that you are capable of handling the schools academics, GPA and test scores often do not say much about you,. If you want to stand out, you need solid academics along with other activities. Part of being a good student is knowing how to prioritize different responsibilities and manage time, and those are the things that impress colleges. For this reason, having a few B+ or A- with a lot of responsibilities often looks better than a straight-A student without much else.