Last time we covered Boost #1, which is the importance of scoring very highly on STEM-related SAT subject tests.
Why are boosts important? Similar to the concept of spikes which I cover in the guide, boosts are specific “checklist criteria” that can guarantee a close review of your application, and significantly BOOST of your chances of getting into (pick one: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc).
Admissions committees need these SMART filters (simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) because they’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications. Overall quality increases every year, too. If I were to re-apply, it would be a much harder contest! In fact, I honestly believe that for every 1500 people admitted to MIT every year, they could just as easily build an EQUALLY STRONG class of 1500 from all of the rejects and waitlists!
Think about that.
That means even if you’re immensely qualified for MIT…you’ve still got only a 50% chance of getting in!
Lots of things help: high test scores, legacy status from alumni parents, leadership positions in sports and extracurriculars, etc.
Today let’s talk about Boost #2: faculty referrals!
This varies widely by school and by type of faculty, but most of the tenured faculty hold strong sway on the admissions committee. If a respected professor wrote a letter to the admissions committee that said, please take a close look at Serena Agbazi’s application, I believe she is a strong candidate for A, B, and C reasons…you can BET that they’ll do so!
Now, this doesn’t mean that professors can guarantee your spot. And it matters a lot how established and well-known the faculty member is. Some even have a simple policy of never submitting referrals like this. But the ones who do — they can immeasurably boost your chances.
Unfortunately, some of you don’t know any respected faculty at your target schools. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to reach them! You could cold email them to do research in their labs. You could offer to be an unpaid summer intern for a history professor’s research project. You could simply email them and ask questions for a research paper or school project. It’s all about trying. And then it’s about having the courage to ASK THEM to help you come Common App season.
So…that’s another boost that will fast track your application, regardless of your ACT score, your essays, or your class rank.
More boosts to come in future essays!
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