Journey to American College Admission
Students usually begin searching for colleges that they are interested in during their junior year of high school, and start their application process in their senior year. While many students stress the importance of attending a high-ranking college, I personally think that it is more important to go to a college that suits you rather than recklessly seeking for the most prestigious school. Some important traits of my ideal college is one that (1) offers program(s) that match with my interests and needs, (2) provide an environment that fits my learning style and personality characteristics, and (3) offers a community that I could relate to as well as to rely on. Note that my ideal college might not be a perfect college, but it is definitely a college that I think is perfect for me.
I am very blessed to be raised in a family that value all-around education. Apart from academics, I trust that it is also very important to participate in extracurricular activities and community services. Not only do these opportunities broaden your horizons, they also help you to develop your interests when you are emerged in an environment with diverse subjects and experiences. I value diversity a lot and therefore I decided to apply to colleges in America after finishing high school in Hong Kong. This is mainly because of the fact that American colleges allow students to take a variety of courses outside of their concentrations. Compared to the education system in Asia where students usually specialize in a particular area, Western education generally encourage students to step out of their expertise as well as to offer numerous opportunities for students to join different extracurricular activities.
After researching for some potential colleges that would be a good fit for me, I started to familiarize myself with the requirements needed for admission. For example, colleges usually have a suggested score for GPA (Grade Point Average), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), as well as SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test). I prepared ahead for these tests and made sure that the results would truly reflect my ability. On the other hand, colleges usually require recommendation letters from your teachers as well; therefore, you might want to start building relationships with your teachers early.
The actual application process requires you to submit a number of documents so that the college’s admission center can get to know you better. These documents include resume, personal statement, and other additional essays depending on the programs you apply to. It could be beneficial to ask a few close relatives or friends to give you suggestions once you have drafted the application essays. For example, when I was drafting my business school application, I sought for recommendations from my relative who works in the business sector. He pointed out that even though it is good to include analogies and beautiful phrases in a piece of writing, business school usually looks for writings that get the message across in a direct manner. As a humanities student all my life, I unintentionally developed a certain writing style that might not be favorable to use when I write my application essays. Since admission decisions are made online most of the time, without phone or face-to-face interviews, these essays are the only way to present yourself as a qualified candidate to your ideal college. Therefore, do not underestimate the power of these essays.
I know that a lot of students would worry too much during the college application process, but do try to appreciate and enjoy the preparation process as well. Good luck to those who are currently, or thinking about, seeking admission at an American college!