International families have a thirst for admission to elite American universities. And as competition increases, foreign families are going to great lengths to step up their game to gain admission into highly selective schools.
In order to increase their chances, families are seeking enrollment in American independent institutions as early as high school and even middle school throughout the country. New generations of foreigners are eager and willing to take great lengths to get into the U.S. admissions game. Drawn by the world-wide recognition and allure of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, American schools have become international destinations for students from around the globe. Private secondary schools and colleges are being overwhelmed with international applicants and the affect is trickling down to schools on every level.
The Competition from Abroad
Despite the soaring costs of education in the United States, international parents are so driven for their children to be viable candidates for U.S. college admissions that they are willing to send children as young as eleven years old to junior boarding schools to begin a rigorous endeavor. By committing to this path, once many of these children leave their country’s educational system, they will never return and the children are destined to a fifteen to twenty year educational process in American schools. Their parents’ goal is for their children to return home with a stellar educational resume that is likely to include a MBA or PhD.
Their desire to achieve acceptance has no boundaries as they have arrived -willing to pay cash for tuitions, hiring educational consultants for tens of thousands of dollars for guidance, and children that have been drilled to compete for years in twelve month/six days a week/twelve hour programs in math and English.
Take the “Tiger Mom” and multiply her by the thousands.
Admissions offices have a constant stream of high achieving applicants from Asia, the Middle East and Mexico with similarly themed resumes- outstanding test scores, accomplished musicians, and disciplined work ethics. Many schools could easily accept three quarters of international students but resist from doing so to maintain a balanced ratio of diverse student backgrounds.
In this crowded market, U.S. parents naturally wonder how their child can compete and gain a coveted spot to the school of their dreams? What is the magic bullet to stand out from the crowd in an increasingly fierce field of applicants – über SAT scores, 4.0 GPA’s, and a winning combination of attributes in arts and athletics?
Here are four ways to stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression-
1) Be Passionate - Students – not their parents need to take charge of the process and know how to develop a conversation, express their goals and accomplishments and ask questions via email, phone and correspondence.
2) Understand the value and influence of a confident leadership voice, good posture, eye contact and a firm handshake. People are naturally drawn to leaders and want to be on their team- exhibit these traits and your world opens up to you.
3) Slow Down – Despite the frenzied pace of managing school visits and applications – keep in mind the world does not solely revolve around you. Although you need to be diligent about the process, be realistic that counselors and admissions representatives are managing a large number of students.
4) Express and Show Gratitude - Take the time to recognize the time, effort and guidance that someone offers you by your verbal statements, gestures and hand written thank you’s.
How will your teen’s college application stand out from the crowd?
Hilary Brennan is the director of Socially Savvy, the NJ/PA/DE tri-state area resource for etiquette training for students and adults. She specializes in preparing students to reach to their admissions potential with group and private coaching. She has taught hundreds of individuals to be more confident and prepared in business and social situations.
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