Lessons From the College Admissions Scandal: How to Get Into the Best Schools Without Cheating

by | Mar 16, 2019 | Education, Model G20

Across the country, high school and college students are reacting to the news of the college admissions scandal by calling it a “slap in the face.” Adam, a superstar Knovva alumnus who attended our recent Beijing Summit, rightly said it was “incredibly unfair.” There’s no question why. Students like Adam spend countless hours studying, working on projects, playing sports, and honing their resumes to earn a seat in their dream school. For athletes in particular, seeing a coveted spot on a recruiting roster go to someone unqualified, who maybe didn’t even play the sport, stings especially hard. Each year Harvard gets enough applicants with high enough grade point averages and standardized test scores to fill up six classes. That means more than 80% of qualified students don’t get in. Even for schools that haven’t been around longer than the United States has been a country, competition is tough. So, without breaking the law, what can you do to increase your chances? How can you stand out among the crowd and let the admissions officer know that you deserve a seat more than all the others? The essay is a great place to start. This is your chance to show the college that you’re more than just your test scores. You’re a real live person with hopes and dreams. Are you passionate about renewable energy or global trade? The essay is your chance to show that off. What else? Colleges want well rounded students, not just bookworms who never leave the library. That means playing a sport or a musical instrument, or participating in a couple of extracurricular activities. Join the Color Guard or the Math Team, or practice your je ne sais quoi with the French Club.

Depth matters more than breadth with your extracurriculars. It is better to pick a few activities and be very active than to simply be a member on paper of a lot of organizations. If you’re interested in a career in economic development or global health, for example, demonstrate an interest by attending workshops or getting internships in the field. Finally, be a leader. Colleges want alumni who are going to change the world. Show them you are a leader today in your school, that you’ll be a leader on campus, and that you’ll be a leader after you graduate. As the world grows smaller and ever more interconnected, the problems society is facing will only grow more complex. Every country on earth will need leaders to solve them. Be one, and watch the admissions letters roll in.

About Knovva Academy:

Knovva’s signature offerings connect top students from around the world with visionary educators, experts, and innovators to gain the skills critical to 21st century leadership. From world class online courses to five-day intensive simulations to two-week immersion programs, Knovva students break down cultural barriers so they can rebuild a world without them.

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