Students generally have a perception that, GRE / IELTS is the most important element for admission and spend quite a bit of time on the same.
However, do remember for good colleges scores of GRE and IELTS need to be good, however they would not be the major differentiators, as most of the students who apply to these colleges have a very similar score. So you also have to differentiate basis your profile as you project it in the application. Profile review is a crucial part for the university authorities to make the selection. So, in this week's article, we will look at how to build an effective profile that improves your chances of a seat in the desired university.
Why is profile building so important?
Most of the Indian applications are well renowned for their high academic grades and high test scores. That is because the stakes are higher now. If you think that you scored a good grade and the admission is guaranteed, consider the following.
- In the past 6 years, there has been an exponential increase of the students wishing to study abroad.
- There has been a 600% increase among those who score above 90%-95% in their under-graduation.
In this scenario what makes you stand apart from the crowd is your profile. The problem with most of our applications is to the eye of admission officers, many profiles look the same. Everybody has a good academic score, everybody loves computers, and everybody has tutored orphans or underprivileged kids at an NGO.
So, the first thing to do is to think out of the box. Profile building should be given importance while one's still at college. It gives a proper time frame in which a person can develop new skills and add them up to the profile. It means to get involved – not just in the academics but overall. Do some unique courses in line with you interest, and if possible do a research paper, and try getting them published. The colleges would like to see you as a PERSON, not just as an academic student and that too as a UNIQUE Person. Having said that the uniqueness is a function of your goal, the profile that is required for getting an admission in an MBA school is very different from that that is required for an MS school.
How to build an effective profile?
Profile building is all about understanding how you can you differentiate your application to make it “more desirable” for good colleges to give you an admission. Understanding what you have done so far, and what can be done more to make it a strong one. As an admission consultant, while I work on someone’s profile, I spend a lot of time brainstorming with the student, asking random as well as piercing questions to understand their past, present, and future. After I collect a lot of data, the next challenge for me to sift through it to look at that data points that can be projected.
During brainstorming if I see some negative – this could be in form of low academic marks, low scores in various tests like GRE, GRE AW, or IELTS, gap in the education etc., I tend to look for other elements in their profile that can counter these and project that more to actually counter and compensate with the negative aspects. Many elements in the profile are related to the past, and so cannot be changed. For example, your graduation marks so far, your projects etc. However, there are a few elements which can still be done, for example, an online course in the area of your interest. One must dwell a lot on these “controllable” aspects, and guide students to bridge the gaps.
No wonder I have had successes in placing students with near average profiles in leading colleges like Perdue University, Washing State University and others!
Next stage after profile building - Profile Projection
Profile Projection happens through the most important document you would be asked to submit as a part of the application – your Statement of Purpose, or SOP as it is known. As many think it is, this document is not an exhibition of your language skills. Your language skills have already been tested through GRE, IELTS and even your XII class English marks. This document is about a story, which is your life story. It should talk about your past, your present, but more importantly how all these link to your future, and how the program you are applying to and the college you seek admission would help you reach that.
Writing SOP is a skill. However, that is not something that is time-consuming. Quite often I have seen many consultants ask students to submit their SOP – unfortunately, students fail at identifying their special traits and present them in a precise and focused form. They tend to just copy SOP from their seniors and window dress them. This compromises their application and thus the ability to get into higher ranking colleges. Remember an SOP should always be unique and talk about various traits of you that portray you as a valuable asset to the university.
Following the above pointers will help you to create a strong and unique profile that the admission committee will review in a positive light. Working towards creating a strong and unique profile requires time and commitment, so if you want to secure admission to your chosen university, you must make a plan and start working towards it well in advance to create an exemplary profile and maximize your chances of securing admission.
When admissions committees have a good idea of who you are, not only as a student but also outside of the classroom, they can better see if you would be a good fit with their academic programs.
Chief Marketing Officer (ConduiraOnline)