What Do Universities Look For in Prospective Students (applicants)?

A good sign for a school (or program) is that there are many more interested applicants than spots available. By limiting the number of seats, the school increases their prestige and value to the student. Furthermore, they can standardize their credentials, offering prospective employers an understanding of what their graduate is able to do. In other words, if the school admitted everyone, their degree would be common and subsequently lose value. 


With that brief caveat out of the way, we can look at the reality of the situation, as written in October 2021. The social milieu has changed, with a greater emphasis on “justice”, “equality”, and “equal opportunity”. While schools still weigh academic performance highly, they also consider contextual issues, like the socio-economic background of the applicant. In actuality, if a student is from a “specific” background they can be accepted while someone from a similar portfolio-but not from a marginalized group-cannot.


The purpose of this blog is not to make a values-judgment but provide insight into how all people can get into their school-of-choice, using every resource at your disposal. Regardless of your background, read the following areas below, as they will have influence on your applicant status. 


Good Luck!


  1. Perfect Marks: While not every student can pull this off, it should be the goal, as anything less will be a barrier to both admission and scholarship opportunities. Do not take exams unprepared, as the mark may still be shown even if future marks are assessed higher. Seek professional tutoring assistance, experts who have advanced degrees (in the subject) who can review material before submission. Take Emergency Exam Prep. Classes before difficult exams, as they have show to raise the testers grade by several points. Before submitting written material, have it professionally proofread by an editor both both content and grammar. Small mistakes add up and will reduce the grade. By warned, Inspiration tutors will not be doing the work for you, only guide you through the steps. Like anything in life, the results are up to you!
  2. Take AP (Advanced Placement) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and exam. Make sure that you are already advanced in the subject, seeing strong grades at the conventional level. This can be seen as the “gifted program”, putting high school students in contact with advanced material, topics covered in first year university. Developing a strong educational network (around your student) can give the student the advantages unavailable in larger class settings. Furthermore, the testing is only effective when the highest grades are achieved, with lower marks having no value whatsoever. 
  3. Engage the Community through sports, volunteer, charity, and religious groups. Top tier students look “beyond the grade” and assess students through a holistic paradigm. While some students may do well academically, they may lack social skills and the ability to integrate into the body politik. Be sure to choose activities that provide opportunities for leadership, the capacity to demonstrate strong morality and the ability to convince others to follow suit. Ivy League schools (such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and the like) see themselves as leaders in education. As such, they seek to select the “best of the best” to further strengthen their own school recognition and provide consistency in the performance of their applicants.
  4. Build Your Own Village – Branch out and meet people! Not just the students but the parents as well! Having children (the same age) creates instant connection between children, with some of these relationships bearing fruit later in life. I am not suggesting to be opportunistic, but to relish strong relationships and invest in them. Be a good friend, neighbour, and citizen. Stand strong in principle and develop a strong reputation. Always lead with kindness, giving people charity over judgement. Universities are looking to create future leaders, who combat oppression and seek to make the world a better place.

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