Building a Case for US Universities: Spending Your Child's Summer Months Wisely
Strategies to impress admissions departments in American universities
With the competitiveness of US universities increasing each year, students are concerned with the growing challenge of distinguishing themselves from other applicants. And parents are concocting more exotic and adventurous summer plans for their children in an attempt to help their kids appear impressive and unique in the eyes of admissions officers. But fear not: contrary to popular belief, a student need not skydive off a lava–filled volcano to get into her dream university!
BridgeU's team of international education professionals has distilled a list of attributes – what we call "Strategy factors" – that will help you plan your child's summer in such a way that allows her to enjoy her summer whilst also building a strong case to US universities:
Breadth & Depth: U.S universities want to see both breadth and depth of experiences. This means that the first two years of high school are a good time for young teens to experiment with activities and involvements, camps, courses and leagues that interest them. Those first two summers should be largely guided by the passions and hobbies of the student, allowing him or her to develop as an individual and understand his or her strengths, and interests. During the last two summers of high school (entering sixth form), students should hone the depth of their commitments and focus on a few interests, involvements or work experiences which can become narrative threads throughout the story that they tell as applicants.
Global Citizenship & Leadership: In an increasingly globalized world, US universities are seeking to attract students who have encountered diversity in the people they've interacted with and in the places they've visited. Participating in language immersion, study abroad or community service programs demonstrates an independence of spirit on the student's behalf, and an ability to interact with people from other cultures. Similarly, top US universities today are trying to identify and build the future leaders of tomorrow. Whether those future – leaders be musicians, politicians, artists, or lawyers, they are students who can demonstrate leadership during the summer by mentoring, serving as a camp counselors, or otherwise assuming a leadership role in an area of interest to them today.
Entrepreneurship & Initiative – Taking: In the past couple of years, US universities have been looking for student's to demonstrate an entrepreneurial flair in their involvements out of school. Students can show initiative – taking by starting an online business, building something impressive, or by establishing a group or a club with friends to rally behind a cause.
However your child spends his or her summer, make sure it is pursuing something that they're passionate about. Genuine commitment will show through when he tells the story of first encountering the view from the Great Wall of China, or she recalls the experience of building that model 'plane in her garden.
For more information about US university application strategy, Check out BridgeU – the preparation and application platform for globally mobile students. Our software matches students with the best universities for them, positions them to maximize their chances of success and manages the application process on their behalf.