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.”
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.