Narrowing the Pool, Part 1: Identifying your real competition

Post By: COYD Staff

college admissions helpThere are millions of students every year applying to college, and every year that number increases. However, as you obviously know, you aren’t actually competing with everybody who applies to college. You are only competing with the pool of students who are applying to the school(s) to which you applied. But why not take it a step further? Why don’t you shrink the pool even more? Many students often overlook certain skills and qualifications they have that might be valuable to the university. Others don’t know how to utilize their special skill to get into that smaller pool. This week we are going to focus on narrowing the pool first by identifying your real competition and second by taking the right steps to make sure you get into that pool.

First, do you have any special skills, accomplishments, or qualifications?

If you show excellence in a sport that the university to which you are applying covets, then you need to make that known in the admissions process. Unfortunately, not all sports are coveted equally. Usually, the sports that make a lot of money for the school are more coveted, and if you show excellence in one of those sports, then you will definitely be placed into an extremely small pool.

If you are nationally recognized in the arts or music, then you have a special qualification. You do need to research the school and make sure that this special skill is valued by the university.

If you are from a disadvantaged family, you need to make that known in your application. These days, admissions offices are aware of the fact that a student who grew up in gang-ridden neighborhood with a single parent who worked 70 hours per week had less opportunities than a private school student with 2 available parents.

If you started a business or organization in high school that is locally or nationally recognized, you need to highlight that during the admissions process. I read about a student who had mediocre grades and scores yet she founded an organization that raised awareness and money for victims of sex-trafficking around the world. Her organization positively impacted not only the lives of the victims but also the people in her community that donated their money and time in the organization. Her scores were in the bottom percentile of most of the schools to which she applied, but it didn’t matter. She was accepted into every school to which she applied.

Remember, students and alumni are a university’s walking advertisement. If you have something that a university will want to flaunt in their alumni magazine, then you need to flaunt it during the admissions process.

There are other qualifications that might or might not help depending on the university. It is known that there are universities that admit a higher percentage of legacies than the general applicant pool. There are universities that admit students who come from families who have a history of generosity to the university.

If you don’t have special qualifications, there is still a way to narrow your pool, Be the Anti-Stereotype. You can download our free report on the top right hand corner of this page, to learn more about being the anti-stereotype.

Like we said, Identifying your pool is not enough. There are things you need to do once you figure out who your true competition is. Next post we will focus on specific steps an applicant needs to take to make sure the admissions officers place you in this smaller pool.


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