BY: EKREM KAYA
It’s easy to feel mediocre in a world where everyone seems to be involved in a lot of extracurricular activities for colleges these days. Over the past decades, colleges have become more and more competitive and the standard student has progressed just as much. Students are told to volunteer, do sports, join clubs, and maintain good grades but all of this doesn’t seem to be enough for those top, prestigious colleges. There is not a set recipe for being an Ivy league candidate but many counselors and alumni would agree that you need to have unique qualities to get distinguished among your peers. So with such competition, how do you even get noticed? I am not a college admissions expert however, as mentioned by Allen Cheng in this informative article, you need some sort of spike to set you apart from everyone else.
A spike is something in your application that is extremely good. Something not many others would have.This can be an amazing talent, or a respected achievement. Allen recommends being really good at one thing over being well rounded at many things. But at that one thing you’re good at, you have to be the best of the best.
Academic Olympiads. They are kind of like the olympics for nerds. The best of the best high schoolers compete in Math, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. However nerdy they sound, the science or math olympiads are the perfect way to create peaks on your resume, to show you’re world class at something. These olympiads occur every year and have national and international scales. Almost every country has an organization that runs these contests at the national level. Of course getting to compete at the international level is a lot harder. The generic olympiad process looks a little like this
These academic competitions by no means are easy. However, with enough prep and time, they are great ways to validate your talents to colleges. Signing up is quite easy, and even if your school does not have a club for these events, you can take the exams at a nearby school. On that note if your school does not have a relevant club, think about starting one yourself! You may approach a teacher and ask if they would like to sponsor. Be prepared to explain the details.
I cannot stress enough that the success in these olympiads are not guaranteed and requires dedication and hard work. However, with their potential to set you apart from the rest of your peers, they may be worth the effort.