Demonstrate ‘College Readiness’ for admission to Ivy Leagues and elite Universities

The past year has been stressful for high school students and their parents. It is impossible to predict when various competitive exams like JEE, NEET, CLAT will be conducted. Additionally, board exams have been even more unpredictable with CBSE, ICSE and several state boards deciding to postpone and finally base their scores on internal assessment. Uncertainty looms large when it comes to university admissions. With the current high competition and many postponements, it is difficult to say with confidence when a student will be admitted to the university of his dreams.

Over the past few months, we have spoken with a number of students who are considering foreign universities as a reliable backup for their higher education plans. Unlike a one-dimensional admission process based on an entrance exam, the admission process at the Ivy League and other specialized universities around the world is holistic and considers many factors.

At the highest level, colleges want ‘college ready’ students who are successful in their studies and beyond. If admitted, will you be able to handle the academic rigors of their classes? Admissions officers also assess your potential as a graduate of their school. Are you someone who can become a CEO? Win a Nobel Prize? become prime minister? Top universities use your grades, academic interests, extra-curricular activities, application essays and letters of recommendation to judge your potential, focus and future potential. The following factors are important to demonstrate your ‘college readiness’.

1. academic performance – No surprise here. Since you are seeking admission in a higher education institution, top universities like to look at your past performance and ensure that you have the intellectual ability to manage their curriculum. This is a necessary and important factor in a robust application.

2. favorite subject – Are you good at certain subjects? How are you demonstrated his passion And an interest in your favorite subjects beyond what is taught in class? Have you studied certain subjects at a higher level? Have you appeared for the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in your favorite subjects? Have you secured a place in prestigious events like Math Olympiad? Have you differentiated yourself through research papers or college credit courses?

3. recognized examination – Students preparing for admission to US universities are well versed with the Standardized Achievement Test (SAT). It is a test of 1,600 marks in English and Mathematics. It helps universities compare thousands of applicants from around the world on two subjects important to higher education.


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4. extra curricular activities Any activity that you have done for a long time is a part of you. Extra-curricular activities are not something you should only do for your admissions applications. These activities help you become a complete person and prepare you for life. Some examples are given below:

  • Leadership: Being on the student council. Prefect, College Captain, Sports Captain etc. Holding a leadership position shows that you are respected by your peers and/or teachers.
  • sport: Excellent in any sport, basketball, soccer, martial arts, cricket etc. You should have done this consistently over several years. For example, if someone is a Black Belt in Judo, it means they have invested 6+ years and everything else they have done. This shows a significant amount of effort and commitment.
  • Music, Dance or Art: If you have participated in frequent music competitions, learned an instrument, learned dance etc. This is of interest to universities. Similarly, for fine arts and crafts.
  • Competitions: This application helps if you like to participate in quizzes, debates, MUN and win prizes at different levels.

5. community serviceRecognizing that many people are less privileged and that relatively small efforts can make a positive impact on others is a sign of humility and responsibility. If you feel strongly about certain causes and take your time helping others, it will be of interest to admissions officers.

6. letter of recommendation – What do your teachers, counselors and other superiors who have observed you over the years say about your work ethic, energy level, and intellectual curiosity? Is there anything that sets you apart from your peers?

7. admission essay – The admission essay Let us help you bring all the above sections together. This is your chance to explain to the reader who you are, what motivates you, how you have dealt with setbacks, what your aspirations are and the events that shaped you. This is the section where you address your strengths as well as any obvious weaknesses in your profile. Everyone is unique with different life experiences and abilities. This is your soapbox where you get a chance to present your best. While students are expected toblow your own trumpet‘ In admissions essays, you still need to be careful that the examples are relevant and convey your message appropriately.

The holistic admissions process identifies high-performing ‘college ready’ students who are likely to succeed in college and beyond. While many students begin pursuing their extra-curricular courses only in class XI or XII for the purpose of university admission, these activities provide essential life skills relevant to career and professional development. Early awareness of what you want to study in college and pursuing relevant activities is vital to gaining admission to the Ivy League or other specialized universities. To develop a balanced, ‘college-ready’ profile, students should pursue extra-curricular activities and hobbies from an early age.


About the Author:

Vivek Bhandari He is the Chief Executive and Co-Founder of He is an engineer from IIT Delhi and an MBA from IIM Kolkata. Vivek has worked extensively in the financial services, real estate and mortgage space in the United States, Europe and India.

scholarly Helps aspiring international students to locate the right universities and courses to further their education. We offer college credit courses and research papers to students who want to learn more and differentiate themselves. We help students develop their profile and present themselves as the best in the university of their dreams.

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