7 Tips to Getting Into Your Dream University That Are Often Left Unsaid.

Photo from Unsplash by Emma Mathews

1) Be careful who you ask for a recommendation letter.

It is not uncommon for students to cruise through their last years of high school or undergraduate without creating a meaningful connection with a teacher.

2) Extracurriculars are unlikely to compensate for poor grades.

We all know that someone who got into an amazing university despite mediocre grades and poor test results. It happens, these cases exist.

  • Studying is a habit. Make sure you study every day and schedule your studying time.
  • Find efficient ways to study. Copying your textbooks is very unlikely to help. If you study well through writing, paraphrasing the most important information is a better alternative.
  • Make all the past exam papers you can find. It’s often the best preparation for your actual exam. Through this method, I once received a perfect score on a test without actually buying the book!
  • Studying in a group can be very helpful, but make sure that you and your partners’ objectives are aligned.

3) Be genuine.

Students often think that every admissions officer loves volunteer workers. While volunteering is indeed often perceived admirable, it is currently teeming with students who claim to have volunteered at a non-existent homeless shelter in South-Africa.

4) Take a long time to write your essay and personal statement.

Your essay and your personal statement are both vital components of your application.

5) If you decide to work, make sure it adds value.

It is very common for students to work next to their studies. Whether you have to work to pay your rent or just want to earn some extra pocket money, try to find a job that contributes to your CV and personal brand.

6) Stellar test scores and a high GPA only help until a certain degree.

Studying is a concept that displays diminishing marginal returns, no matter how clever you might be.

7) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

After reading online that MIT has the best engineering program or that LSE has the best economics professors, you don’t want to go anywhere else anymore.

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Adam Rybko

Adam Rybko

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MSc Development Economics @ LSE. I’m a high-achieving graduate student who writes about productivity, university admissions, and financially smart collecting.