There are many colleges, and there are many paths to get to them. The American education experience is all about options and opportunities. The workshops and mentors at the Mentorship Program are here to help you find your path. Each student has personal circumstances – academic background, particular interests, family background, and financial circumstances that determine that path. We are here to help you decide on best strategies so that your strengths and uniqueness come through.
One of the unique features of American education is its focus on the overall character of the candidate. Grades and test scores are important, but they are not the only thing. U.S. colleges are interested in students who will graduate to be compassionate, resilient, resourceful and thoughtful citizens of the world. They seek candidates with passion and the ability to work hard for a greater good. As a candidate, it’s your task to demonstrate why you are a good candidate.
Let’s look at several possible undergraduate scenarios. You are or and you are very different from each other even though you both come from Indonesia and may even wear the same school uniforms. You may be:
The well-rounded kid
You are a well-rounded student with very good grades. You have worked hard and played sports, or maybe play a musical instrument. You may have volunteered somewhere or in some way managed to build a record of extracurricular activities. You prepare your college list (safe, target and reach schools). When one of these schools admits you, it doesn’t matter which one because you only applied to schools you want to attend. So you are accepted into a college that is right for you. Colleges love kids like you because you know how to do many things and can contribute to their academic and student life. Congratulations!
The asymmetrical kid
You are very good at “x.” You have always liked math and you are good at that. Or maybe it is biology or design. Maybe you are an athlete or a musician. Whatever it is, you are really good at it. You have gone to fairs and competitions and you have won awards. Most of your activities are related to “x.” You haven’t done much of any sport or other activities, may be a bit of “y.” You apply to schools that you know have strong “x” departments. You get in because they love “x” kids. Congratulations!
The leader kid
You are a very sociable person with a talent to organize people and events. You have have obvious leadership qualities and you are not shy to try different activities and experiences. You volunteer for things and are curious about a, b or c. Other kids gravitate toward you. You have perhaps set up a club or organized an event. You are not quite sure what you want to study, but you are passionate about a, b, or c. You are bright, get good grades, but not necessarily top 1%. You prepare your college list, prepare an outstanding application, and get in the school of your choice, the school that is right for you. Colleges love kids with initiative and passion. Congratulations!
The special circumstances kid
You are a great kid, but you changed schools, or cities or countries. Or perhaps your family situation is unusual, even difficult. Perhaps you or your sibling have a learning challenge, a condition you have been dealing with all your life. Or perhaps you made mistakes, or one big mistake, that you regret but you have learned from. Despite challenges, you have done relatively well because you have worked hard and picked yourself up from the ashes or swam against the current. You are more mature than your peers because you have had to deal with life situations which taught you resilience and, hopefully, compassion, which college admissions like. You apply to your list of colleges and you manage to put it all together. You get in your school of choice. Colleges love kids with an ability to overcome difficult circumstances. Congratulations!
One of the most misunderstood factors in deciding if and where a student can go to a U.S. college is cost. Many U.S. and international student do not apply to college because they know they cannot afford it. Most of those who do apply, find a financial solution. Finance should never be the leading factor of whether you apply to college or not, and you should never NOT apply to a certain school ONLY because you think you cannot afford it.