MINERVA VOICES

4 Things You Shouldn’t Worry About When Applying to Minerva University

Our team debunks 4 of our most common applicant fears.

February 21, 2024

Applying to Minerva is exciting but can feel overwhelming and nerve-wracking at times too. We know you want to show up as your best self in the Minerva application, but it is normal to have feelings of apprehension or self-doubt. In this piece, we tackle the top four concerns we typically hear from our applicants (even the ones that got in!).

1. "I messed up the Challenges."

Part II of the Minerva application is a series of exciting and intriguing Challenges. From Math and Writing to Creativity and Expression, these Challenges are designed to give us insight into the type of thinker you are. 

We know that attempting the Challenges can be nerve-wracking, especially since there is no actual way to prepare for them but to show up as your well-rested, clear-minded self. We also know that sometimes, after completing the Challenges, you may be worried that your performance was not good enough. But what if I told you that some of our current students have failed even an entire Challenge and still got in? Here’s Lina’s story:

“When I applied to Minerva in 2022, I did so badly in the Math section. I did not keep track of the time which made me overthink questions and re-check each one of them after I reached an answer. Out of 20 questions, I believe that I only answered 4 correctly. At that point I felt like I ruined my chance of being admitted but a friend of mine encouraged me to keep going as I had nothing to lose and well… fast forward, I got accepted! Do not feel discouraged if you did not do well in a challenge; you are your whole application, not just one challenge!” — Lina, Class of 2026

2. "My Accomplishments are not strong enough."

At Minerva, we look for students who demonstrate a natural inclination for leadership and taking initiative, irrespective of their specific interests. The Accomplishments section within the application process is a chance for you to showcase your achievements, even if they fall outside the conventional spectrum. So, don’t worry if your proudest accomplishments are more personal ones and not what colleges typically view as qualifying achievements, like Olympiads or competition prizes. To illustrate that, here are some of our current students’ favorite accomplishments they submitted in their Minerva application and don’t fit a traditional mold.

“My favorite accomplishment from my Minerva application is probably my acceptance letter to a charitable organization that I volunteered with. The reason for that is that this program was completely non-competitive, and none of the other colleges that I applied to even cared that I did it. Being able to put that in my application and feeling encouraged by Minerva to do so made me feel like they cared about the achievements and the parts of my life that I cared about and not just the ones that looked good on my CV.” — Faye, Class of 2026

“My favorite accomplishment was my involvement with the “Canto In Club” group, with whom I put out many musicals. We rehearse every Friday and perform twice a semester. The moments I spend with them are always the lightest and most fun, and we have complete freedom to be creative and express ourselves artistically.” — Ana Beatriz, Class of 2027

“My favorite accomplishment was founding my own initiative that aimed to make a positive change in the lives of underprivileged students in conflict zones. In the English teaching programs of ‘STEPS of Change’, international volunteers from all around the world teach English online to groups of 15-20 disadvantaged students in conflict zones. With this, we aim to enhance the quality of their education and help them to become global citizens but also hope that they feel supported by our international community. This project was my childhood dream and I cannot explain how happy and excited I get when I hear them speaking English with me.” — Ada, Class of 2027

So, don’t overthink when you pick the accomplishments to share in the Minerva application, and definitely don’t underestimate them. Take advice from Carl, Class of 2026: “Don't be afraid to show up as yourself, and don't underestimate your achievements! In the Accomplishments section, you can use your local school project, for example. As long as you worked hard and you quantify the impact you had with that project, that will be enough. Because again, we're all a work in progress and Minerva is an opportunity to grow even more. Done is better than perfect.”

3. "Minerva's acceptance rate is so low."

We know that looking at college admissions rates may feel daunting. But before you feel discouraged, remember that our holistic admissions process is designed to help, not hurt you, so be confident in yourself and show us your skills and accomplishments. We don’t look at your grades, or at your accomplishments in isolation. Instead, we take all of your information into account, your proudest achievements—be them professional, academic, or deeply personal— your transcript, and your Challenges.

Even some of our current students and alumni did not think they would get accepted but they took the leap and applied anyway. Here’s Alexandra’s story:

“I actually didn’t even think about applying to Minerva when I was in my senior year in high school because I knew that the admissions rate was very low. I had a close friend who was attending Minerva back then, in the Class of 2020, and I thought I’d never compare to him and other Minervans. That all changed when I received a Minerva email encouraging me to apply—I decided to take a chance on myself. I completed Minerva’s application right before the Regular Decision II deadline, and 6 hours after submitting my application, I got my admissions letter. Going on to graduate from Minerva, I couldn’t be more glad that I took the leap and applied. If you never try, you’ll never know!” — Alexandra, Class of 2021

4. "My grades are not perfect."

We know that grades are not a direct reflection of your actual knowledge and skills. Even at Minerva, current students rarely get perfect grades. This is why we don’t take your transcript as a predictor for academic success at Minerva. While we do require you to submit a transcript so we have access to your academic history, do not feel discouraged if you don’t have straight A’s (or 4’s, or 10’s, or 1’s). There is more to your story before Minerva and we know it.

How can it be possible that you may think you have failed a part of your Minerva application, yet can still get in? Minerva doesn’t consider the parts of our application in isolation but rather takes a holistic approach and considers your entire application to create a picture of who you truly are. Every Minerva student is unique and shines in their own unique ways. There is no one mold that our admissions officers use to pick who makes up our next class. So, instead of stressing over becoming the perfect Minerva applicant, aim to showcase your unique and special self in the Minerva application. We cannot wait to get to know the real you!

Best of luck with your Minerva University application!

Quick Facts

Name
Country
Class
Major

Social Sciences & Business

Business & Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Computational Sciences & Social Sciences

Computer Science & Arts and Humanities

Business and Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Arts and Humanities

Business, Social Sciences

Business & Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences, Natural Sciences

Data Science, Statistics

Computational Sciences

Business

Computational Sciences, Data Science

Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Business, Natural Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Computational Sciences, Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Science

Social Sciences, Business

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Science

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Science, Statistic Natural Sciences

Business & Social Sciences

Computational Science, Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Business

Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Arts and Humanities

Computational Science

Minor

Computational Science & Business

Economics

Social Sciences

Concentration

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence & Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Designing Societies & New Ventures

Strategic Finance & Data Science and Statistics

Brand Management and Designing Societies

Data Science & Economics

Machine Learning

Cells, Organisms, Data Science, Statistics

Arts & Literature and Historical Forces

Artificial Intelligence & Computer Science

Cells and Organisms, Mind and Emotion

Economics, Physics

Managing Operational Complexity and Strategic Finance

Global Development Studies and Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Scalable Growth, Designing Societies

Business

Drug Discovery Research, Designing and Implementing Policies

Historical Forces, Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Artificial Intelligence, Psychology

Designing Solutions, Data Science and Statistics

Data Science and Statistic, Theoretical Foundations of Natural Science

Strategic Finance, Politics, Government, and Society

Data Analysis, Cognition

Brand Management

Data Science and Statistics & Economics

Cognitive Science & Economics

Data Science and Statistics and Contemporary Knowledge Discovery

Internship
Higia Technologies
Project Development and Marketing Analyst Intern at VIVITA, a Mistletoe company
Business Development Intern, DoSomething.org
Business Analyst, Clean Energy Associates (CEA)

Conversation

Applying to Minerva is exciting but can feel overwhelming and nerve-wracking at times too. We know you want to show up as your best self in the Minerva application, but it is normal to have feelings of apprehension or self-doubt. In this piece, we tackle the top four concerns we typically hear from our applicants (even the ones that got in!).

1. "I messed up the Challenges."

Part II of the Minerva application is a series of exciting and intriguing Challenges. From Math and Writing to Creativity and Expression, these Challenges are designed to give us insight into the type of thinker you are. 

We know that attempting the Challenges can be nerve-wracking, especially since there is no actual way to prepare for them but to show up as your well-rested, clear-minded self. We also know that sometimes, after completing the Challenges, you may be worried that your performance was not good enough. But what if I told you that some of our current students have failed even an entire Challenge and still got in? Here’s Lina’s story:

“When I applied to Minerva in 2022, I did so badly in the Math section. I did not keep track of the time which made me overthink questions and re-check each one of them after I reached an answer. Out of 20 questions, I believe that I only answered 4 correctly. At that point I felt like I ruined my chance of being admitted but a friend of mine encouraged me to keep going as I had nothing to lose and well… fast forward, I got accepted! Do not feel discouraged if you did not do well in a challenge; you are your whole application, not just one challenge!” — Lina, Class of 2026

2. "My Accomplishments are not strong enough."

At Minerva, we look for students who demonstrate a natural inclination for leadership and taking initiative, irrespective of their specific interests. The Accomplishments section within the application process is a chance for you to showcase your achievements, even if they fall outside the conventional spectrum. So, don’t worry if your proudest accomplishments are more personal ones and not what colleges typically view as qualifying achievements, like Olympiads or competition prizes. To illustrate that, here are some of our current students’ favorite accomplishments they submitted in their Minerva application and don’t fit a traditional mold.

“My favorite accomplishment from my Minerva application is probably my acceptance letter to a charitable organization that I volunteered with. The reason for that is that this program was completely non-competitive, and none of the other colleges that I applied to even cared that I did it. Being able to put that in my application and feeling encouraged by Minerva to do so made me feel like they cared about the achievements and the parts of my life that I cared about and not just the ones that looked good on my CV.” — Faye, Class of 2026

“My favorite accomplishment was my involvement with the “Canto In Club” group, with whom I put out many musicals. We rehearse every Friday and perform twice a semester. The moments I spend with them are always the lightest and most fun, and we have complete freedom to be creative and express ourselves artistically.” — Ana Beatriz, Class of 2027

“My favorite accomplishment was founding my own initiative that aimed to make a positive change in the lives of underprivileged students in conflict zones. In the English teaching programs of ‘STEPS of Change’, international volunteers from all around the world teach English online to groups of 15-20 disadvantaged students in conflict zones. With this, we aim to enhance the quality of their education and help them to become global citizens but also hope that they feel supported by our international community. This project was my childhood dream and I cannot explain how happy and excited I get when I hear them speaking English with me.” — Ada, Class of 2027

So, don’t overthink when you pick the accomplishments to share in the Minerva application, and definitely don’t underestimate them. Take advice from Carl, Class of 2026: “Don't be afraid to show up as yourself, and don't underestimate your achievements! In the Accomplishments section, you can use your local school project, for example. As long as you worked hard and you quantify the impact you had with that project, that will be enough. Because again, we're all a work in progress and Minerva is an opportunity to grow even more. Done is better than perfect.”

3. "Minerva's acceptance rate is so low."

We know that looking at college admissions rates may feel daunting. But before you feel discouraged, remember that our holistic admissions process is designed to help, not hurt you, so be confident in yourself and show us your skills and accomplishments. We don’t look at your grades, or at your accomplishments in isolation. Instead, we take all of your information into account, your proudest achievements—be them professional, academic, or deeply personal— your transcript, and your Challenges.

Even some of our current students and alumni did not think they would get accepted but they took the leap and applied anyway. Here’s Alexandra’s story:

“I actually didn’t even think about applying to Minerva when I was in my senior year in high school because I knew that the admissions rate was very low. I had a close friend who was attending Minerva back then, in the Class of 2020, and I thought I’d never compare to him and other Minervans. That all changed when I received a Minerva email encouraging me to apply—I decided to take a chance on myself. I completed Minerva’s application right before the Regular Decision II deadline, and 6 hours after submitting my application, I got my admissions letter. Going on to graduate from Minerva, I couldn’t be more glad that I took the leap and applied. If you never try, you’ll never know!” — Alexandra, Class of 2021

4. "My grades are not perfect."

We know that grades are not a direct reflection of your actual knowledge and skills. Even at Minerva, current students rarely get perfect grades. This is why we don’t take your transcript as a predictor for academic success at Minerva. While we do require you to submit a transcript so we have access to your academic history, do not feel discouraged if you don’t have straight A’s (or 4’s, or 10’s, or 1’s). There is more to your story before Minerva and we know it.

How can it be possible that you may think you have failed a part of your Minerva application, yet can still get in? Minerva doesn’t consider the parts of our application in isolation but rather takes a holistic approach and considers your entire application to create a picture of who you truly are. Every Minerva student is unique and shines in their own unique ways. There is no one mold that our admissions officers use to pick who makes up our next class. So, instead of stressing over becoming the perfect Minerva applicant, aim to showcase your unique and special self in the Minerva application. We cannot wait to get to know the real you!

Best of luck with your Minerva University application!