MINERVA VOICES

How can a university know if I’m a good fit if they can’t see who I am?

by Megan Perpich, Class of 2022

March 6, 2020

When I was in high school, my teachers, advisors, and college admission officers outlined how I should prepare for university. I made sure my class schedule was rigorous, got involved in extracurricular activities, spent valuable class time preparing for standardized tests, and anxiously mitigated any less-than-perfect grade. I went along with this idiosyncratic preparation because I enjoyed taking advanced classes and getting involved in volunteer projects, debate, and ski club. However, when I began to apply to universities, I was disheartened with the reality that my application and profile only reflected a small fraction of who I was, what I was able to accomplish, and what I had learned.

My personal statement essay was revised and edited until it was “complete,” but, in reality, the 600-something word piece constituted a foggy image of who I was. My ACT score was strong, but a static number isn’t predictive of what I could accomplish. And my long list of activities and extracurriculars may seem impressive at first glance, but I wished I could have expanded on the impact I was able to make with these opportunities.

I wanted to share how my exchange year improved my resilience and instilled a passion to learn German. I wished that admissions officers could watch the short film I had created on my own and see my creative side first-hand. How could I explain the personal significance of a leadership summer camp I attended in just one sentence? What about the nuances I learned through years of debate club that could not be understood through just the names of awards I received? I wanted to be represented by what mattered to me most — the significance these experiences had and the meaning they held in my life.

Whether researching potential colleges online or visiting their campuses, I didn’t feel the sense of belonging I was searching for. Nothing clicked.

Then I remembered Minerva, a university I recalled as untraditional, new, and unique with a one-of-a-kind study abroad model. I had been introduced to Minerva about two years before but didn’t explore it as a viable option because I thought being accepted was way out of my reach. Unsatisfied with my other options, I began to research more into Minerva and found myself drawn to its pedagogy, global rotation, and diverse student body. Unlike my experiences with other universities, I was finally able to picture myself at Minerva.

And when I saw Minerva’s application, I was excited and relieved. The application was free, no standardized test scores were accepted, and I wouldn’t have to write another personal statement. Instead, it was divided into three parts: “who I am,” “how I think,” and “what I have achieved.”

  • “Who I am” was straightforward and established who I was based on basic information about where I was from, what languages I spoke, and my academic history.
  • “How I think” required completing a series of prompts and puzzles to measure how I thought creatively, mathematically, and communicatively. Unlike standardized tests, these challenges did not test exactly what I had memorized but gauged how I think in critical and creative ways.
  • The final section, “What I have achieved,” gave me the opportunity to explain what I had been able to achieve over the last few years. More than simply making a list, there was space for me to discuss why I chose what I did, my process through it, and how the experience shaped me as a person. I illustrated each accomplishment with photos and videos so the admissions team could understand the personal significance. This was the space I had been searching for to discuss my growth from my exchange year, why I chose to join debate club, and pursue creative projects, which were omitted or misunderstood in my traditional university applications.

Minerva’s application took away the pressure that comes with attaching one’s worth to a number and replaced it with dedicated space to share the complete version of my journey. While I was accepted to other universities, by the end, my application to Minerva was the only application I felt accurately and holistically portrayed who I was as a person and who I wanted to become. I felt empowered that I was given the opportunity to authentically and clearly communicate my passions and curiosities, finally finding that sense of belonging I had been searching for throughout my application process. I was confident that Minerva had accepted me for me.

If you are interested in learning more about Minerva’s unique admissions process or are ready to apply yourself, click here.

Quick Facts

Name
Country
Class
Major

Cognitive Science and Economics & Political Science

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

Cells and Organisms & Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Applied Problem Solving & Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

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

When I was in high school, my teachers, advisors, and college admission officers outlined how I should prepare for university. I made sure my class schedule was rigorous, got involved in extracurricular activities, spent valuable class time preparing for standardized tests, and anxiously mitigated any less-than-perfect grade. I went along with this idiosyncratic preparation because I enjoyed taking advanced classes and getting involved in volunteer projects, debate, and ski club. However, when I began to apply to universities, I was disheartened with the reality that my application and profile only reflected a small fraction of who I was, what I was able to accomplish, and what I had learned.

My personal statement essay was revised and edited until it was “complete,” but, in reality, the 600-something word piece constituted a foggy image of who I was. My ACT score was strong, but a static number isn’t predictive of what I could accomplish. And my long list of activities and extracurriculars may seem impressive at first glance, but I wished I could have expanded on the impact I was able to make with these opportunities.

I wanted to share how my exchange year improved my resilience and instilled a passion to learn German. I wished that admissions officers could watch the short film I had created on my own and see my creative side first-hand. How could I explain the personal significance of a leadership summer camp I attended in just one sentence? What about the nuances I learned through years of debate club that could not be understood through just the names of awards I received? I wanted to be represented by what mattered to me most — the significance these experiences had and the meaning they held in my life.

Whether researching potential colleges online or visiting their campuses, I didn’t feel the sense of belonging I was searching for. Nothing clicked.

Then I remembered Minerva, a university I recalled as untraditional, new, and unique with a one-of-a-kind study abroad model. I had been introduced to Minerva about two years before but didn’t explore it as a viable option because I thought being accepted was way out of my reach. Unsatisfied with my other options, I began to research more into Minerva and found myself drawn to its pedagogy, global rotation, and diverse student body. Unlike my experiences with other universities, I was finally able to picture myself at Minerva.

And when I saw Minerva’s application, I was excited and relieved. The application was free, no standardized test scores were accepted, and I wouldn’t have to write another personal statement. Instead, it was divided into three parts: “who I am,” “how I think,” and “what I have achieved.”

  • “Who I am” was straightforward and established who I was based on basic information about where I was from, what languages I spoke, and my academic history.
  • “How I think” required completing a series of prompts and puzzles to measure how I thought creatively, mathematically, and communicatively. Unlike standardized tests, these challenges did not test exactly what I had memorized but gauged how I think in critical and creative ways.
  • The final section, “What I have achieved,” gave me the opportunity to explain what I had been able to achieve over the last few years. More than simply making a list, there was space for me to discuss why I chose what I did, my process through it, and how the experience shaped me as a person. I illustrated each accomplishment with photos and videos so the admissions team could understand the personal significance. This was the space I had been searching for to discuss my growth from my exchange year, why I chose to join debate club, and pursue creative projects, which were omitted or misunderstood in my traditional university applications.

Minerva’s application took away the pressure that comes with attaching one’s worth to a number and replaced it with dedicated space to share the complete version of my journey. While I was accepted to other universities, by the end, my application to Minerva was the only application I felt accurately and holistically portrayed who I was as a person and who I wanted to become. I felt empowered that I was given the opportunity to authentically and clearly communicate my passions and curiosities, finally finding that sense of belonging I had been searching for throughout my application process. I was confident that Minerva had accepted me for me.

If you are interested in learning more about Minerva’s unique admissions process or are ready to apply yourself, click here.