Application Advice – Presenting Your Accomplishments

by: Minerva Admissions Team | Sep 23, 2022

Minerva seeks students who display a propensity for leadership and action, regardless of their interest. The Accomplishments section of the admissions process is a unique opportunity to tell us what you are proud of—even if it may seem non-traditional.

We recognize too that “leadership” can be realized in many ways beyond a formal title so applicants are encouraged to use the Accomplishments section to illustrate personal achievements including but not limited to: work experience, leadership roles, original research, awards or honors, artistic endeavors, or obstacles overcome. You can include a maximum of six and we strongly recommend providing at least three.

Evidence for Accomplishments can be submitted in different forms: pictures, videos, social media information, newspaper articles, website links, certificates, or diplomas. We also ask applicants to share any contact person that could be contacted to validate that accomplishment. Please do not share family or friends as your personal contact.

These examples illustrate how to take your entry from being ordinary to extraordinary, and indicate what type of evidence you should attach:


Model UN

Good: I was part of Harvard Model United Nations, where I featured in the United Nations Security Council Committee. Here, I was in competition with 30 other candidates on a very competitive topic on the Kashmir Issue. I participated with zeal and was able to secure a Best Delegate award. This award placed me among the top 10 candidates overall at the conference consisting of 200 candidates from around the world. (Describes role clearly, states the number of candidates out of which they won the award, states the name of the award, the candidate pool size, and what the title of the award means - top 10)

Poor: I participated in Harvard MUN, where I won the best delegate award. I learned how to be diplomatic and debate better. The competition was very competitive and I was among the top 10 in all. (Does not tell how many competed or what the level of the achievement was)

Good Evidence: A certificate of Best Delegate with evidence of the competition level through a letter of recommendation or link to a news article.

Insufficient Evidence: A picture of you in the committee debating.


Volunteering Project

Good: I led a group of 20 people within the Red Cross department of my school to work on providing Ramadan Afar services to underprivileged/homeless Muslims of the area. I was able to use GoFundMe to raise PKR 50,000 in funding, as well as collect food and other supplies worth about PKR 7,000. The provision of these services benefitted about 200 people within the community. (Uses numbers to specify the amount fundraised, estimate the worth of tangible goods collected and illustrate the number of people impacted)

Poor: I led a group of volunteers and managed to provide facilities to homeless Muslims within our community for Ramadan. Through the raising of funds and collecting other items, we were able to help them open their fast and allow them to eat well. This allowed me to understand the importance of sharing and helping. (Does not provide quantifying details)

Good Evidence: Gofundme screenshot and a reference letter describing your role and how many people were impacted by the project

Insufficient Evidence: Random pictures of volunteers, a certificate of appreciation with just your name on it


Academic Achievements

Please avoid using academic accomplishments that are part of your regular classwork, such as being valedictorian or earning high marks on exams taken specifically for University admissions. We consider your classroom achievements as part of our transcript review.

Good: I took Python courses from Coursera for 4 months, studied 8 hours a week, and gained a special badge in coding on Coursera through completing these courses. It allowed me to become adept at coding in Python and solve projects needed to pass this Coursera course with the best scores.

Poor: I did well in Physics in High School and scored a 100% as shown by my transcripts. This high score got me a medal in Physics from my professor.

Good Evidence: Certificate of completion of the course that includes the course name and your name

Insufficient Evidence: link to the course description on the Coursera website


Startup

Good: I started my own company that provides educational software to other edtech companies. I organized and worked with a team of 3 people to code this software. Last July we launched the product version and already have five customers. With this, our software is being used by approximately 2,500 people and the company has earned $3,000 in revenue to date. (Specific details describing the role, team size, how many people were impacted and revenue earned).

Poor: I started my own company that works on providing educational software to other edtech companies. We believe that as a team this is the need of the market. We have launched our beta version and hope to bring the product to market soon. We have also started to pitch our product for money raising and hope to raise enough funds soon. (This project is still in the developmental stage and does not have concrete results to share yet)

Good Evidence: Link to the startup’s website, reference letters from existing customers, profit ledger

Insufficient evidence: Pitch slideshare, Business plan


Family Commitment

Good: As my father had difficulty finding work and my mother suffered from an illness, our family was short on financial resources. To help us all, I worked about 10 hours a week after school for two years. I was still able to maintain strong grades at school and earned around $3,000 to help with our family expenses. (Explain the family commitment, show what you were able to achieve and how you improved the situation)

Poor: Due to my mother’s sickness she couldn’t work, so we were short of financial resources for some time. This was a very tough time for our family so I took on extra responsibilities to help out. (If describing a family commitment, provide detail to show how you worked to improve the situation)

Good Evidence: Reference person or reference letter that supports the details mentioned, proof of employment

Insufficient Evidence: Reference letter that simply confirms the mother has an illness


Summer Program

Good: I attended Stanford Pre Collegiate Summer Program in Environmental and Earth Sciences which has a highly competitive acceptance rate of 5% of a total of 1,000 applicants from across the world. I was able to achieve the best presenter award within my cohort of 20 students and later secured a position in my university’s lab to continue researching within the field. (States the specific name of the program, has statistics for the selection process, and states the award received)

Poor: I attended a science summer program at Stanford. Although it was very hard to get into this program, I managed to be selected from the many students coming from different countries around the world. I got to learn a lot about the issues of the environment and how we can reduce climate change, and received an award at the end of the program. (No numbers and vague descriptions)

Good Evidence: Acceptance letter, link to the website with statistics for acceptance, Letter of Recommendation, Award certificate

Insufficient Evidence: pictures of you attending the program, presentation slides


Exchange student

Good: I was selected to be part of the YES Exchange Program to be hosted by a family in Texas in the United States. YES has an acceptance rate of 2-3% within Pakistan from around 2,000 total applicants each year. This program allowed me to gain perspective into a completely different environment and learn from many different students about their cultures and traditions. (States acceptance rate and applicant pool size of the program, states what they learned)

Poor: I was selected to be part of YES Exchange Program to be in the USA. I was hosted in Texas. While there I was able to participate in different competitions and interact with new people, so I learned a lot. (Does not provide details about the selection process or application pool size for the program)

Good Evidence: Acceptance Certificate, link to the website with acceptance statistics and details for the program

Insufficient Evidence: Pictures with the host family


Research Position

Good: I conducted research with a prestigious professor at my university to find statistical analysis details surrounding usage of UN resources to reduce terrorism. My primary and secondary research data was used to write a research paper, which got published by Minerva Schools and was presented at the UN Conference on the Human Rights of Victims of Terrorism after being selected from 2,000 other papers. (Provides details about the topic of research and describes how the research was successful, states pool size of research papers out of which theirs was selected to be presented)

Poor: I conducted research on the use of UN resources to reduce terrorism with my professor. I wrote a paper and conducted research, which allowed us to present our paper at a conference and publish it too. (Does not provide specific details of the research topic, does not specify how the paper was selected to be presented at the conference)

Good Evidence: Paper’s publishing reference and website, reference to a professor, an invitation to the conference, website link with statistics around the conference

Insufficient Evidence: Pictures from the conference, slide show of the conference presentation, picture of the applicant with the professor


Art Related

Good: I have loved to sing since I was young and in my freshman year joined my high school’s choir which has 26 members that practice before school for an hour 3 days a week. This past year our choir was invited to perform at a winter assembly in Salzburg, along with 6 other high school choirs from around the region. At first, I was nervous to perform in front of an audience of around 1,200 people, but everything went great and it gave me new confidence to perform on a big stage. (States number of choir members, time commitment, number of other schools invited to perform at the assembly, and audience size)

Poor: I have been singing for a long time and then joined the choir in school. Our choir practices a lot and performs at school and community events. Once we performed at a winter assembly in another city in front of a really large audience. Although I was nervous at first, this gave me the confidence to perform on a big stage. (Does not provide specific information about the size of the choir, or the assembly)

Good Evidence: link to an article in the school paper about the choir traveling to perform at the assembly, reference letter from choir teacher with details about the event

Insufficient Evidence: a photo of your choir on a stage with no distinguishing details


The examples of accomplishments shared here are not in any way an indication of preference from the Admissions Team. Rather, they were chosen to illustrate the array of topics you can list to show us your passion, commitment, and community impact.

For any further questions, please contact the Admissions Team at admissions@minerva.edu.