大学,一个国际生必经的越障碍赛

By Christian Tanja 加州大学洛杉矶分校( UCLA ) 前招生官

    November is a sign of many things: Colder weather, the beginning of the holidays, one month until the end of 2011, and of course college application deadlines! So the marathon continues. After several stressful weeks of Early Action and Early Decision deadlines, the waves of Regular Decision applications continue to crash on the students. It's a lot of work, but a very important investment. Our students have been busily working on their college applications, putting in many hours into each one. Anywhere from 6 to over 20 school applications for some of them.   So why put in so much work to start early, seek expert help, and do hours upon hours of proofreads? Because where you attend college is a LIFE CHANGING decision! You're not just simply choosing where to study or what degree to have, you're choosing where you want to LIVE and GROW into the person you will be someday. So ask yourself: "Is where I am applying truly going to be best fit for the ways I want to grow?" Think about it. Anyway back to applications...

    As someone who has read applications for UCLA, I bring in a level of insight into the application process that our students benefit from. Over the last few days I have helped students specifically with their UC applications and I have to admit it isn't the easiest to process to understand for international students.  Applying to college is essentially your first college test! 9th grade? English requirements? Family income? Sometimes the words they use, the information they are asking for, or the way to fill out the forms is completely alien to the eyes of an international applicant. So here are a few tips on what to look out for when filling out your application.

    Know what they are asking. Applications use a lot of terms that might not be familiar to you, for example 9th grade is Junior 3 year and 10th grade is Senior 1 year and so on. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the information they need and in what ways the application will ask for it. If you are not sure, see a counselor!

    Watch out for language requirements. When universities ask you to list an English class, sometimes what they really mean is what language you are taught in, which for most of you is Chinese!! Make sure to check and specify the right one. For UC schools, the 'English' category is your language of instruction and the 'Language Other Than English' category is English!! (it really should be called Language Other Than Your Language of Instruction). It gets tricky so be careful!

 

    Give yourself credit! When listing activities, we want to see quality over quantity.  International students tend to misreport the number of years they are involved in activities. Even though you were president in Senior 2, you should still list all the years you were involved, not just the only year you were a leader. Also things like hobbies and babysitting can be included as well!! It does not have to be school related. We want to know what's important to you and what you do when you're not studying. Give us a snapshot of what you'll be like when at in university.

    Clean up your act. Proofread. Make sure things are grammatically correct. Entries are properly formatted. Titles are capitalized. All of these say something about you as an applicant. Are you rushed, sloppy, and underreported? Or are you thorough, polished, and accurate? Your application and how it is filled out will say that about you. 

    And lastlyToo much information is better than too little. My biggest piece of advice is to think like an admissions officer!! What information do you present here and is it enough? Often times many students feel like they have concerns and things that need more elaboration. For example things that explain academic changes & inconsistencies, low hours of involvement, activity descriptions, etc. What do you want the admissions officer to know about you? If its important, say it! Applications usually have space allowing you to do so.

 

    In closing, I wanted to bring up one final thought. In America we have this saying: "Don't judge a book by its cover." Similar to that saying in, Chinese you wouldn't encourage someone to: 以貌取人 (English translation: judge a man by his clothes.) Just like the saying goes, admissions officers look deeper into an applicant, not just GPA's and SAT scores. Your application is the main source of information they have to consider you for admissions. Wouldn't you want it to say the most about you in the best way you can?

 

    Here are a few other reasons why you want complete and thorough applications. We still don't know the following information once you have submitted your application: who else is applying, how many spots they have open at the university, who is reading your application, how many they have read that day, how they are feeling that day, who else is reading your application... And on and on. Admissions is a subjective process!! So do yourself a favor, and work hard on your applications and make sure you are presented in the best way possible! It's all in the details. When do you know when you've proofread your application enough or edited your essay enough? You don't! So get it the best you can in all aspects before the deadline of course. Good luck!!

 

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