Jan 28 2023

Part 3: Impact of profile components on applying for a scholarship (USA)

Sam Billy



Certificates and awards are not given a lot of weight in the admissions process in the US. This is because there are many opportunities for students to earn certificates of merit for participating in various activities and the admissions committee recognizes that these may not necessarily reflect true achievement or ability. Instead, certificates from organizations like the United Nations or large NGOs are given more consideration. The same is true for sports tournaments. While American high schools may have weekly sports events, these are not typically given much importance unless you have participated in a prestigious event like the Olympics or the Southeast Asian Games and are part of a highly competitive team. In general, the admissions committee is more interested in achievements that reflect true talent and dedication, rather than just participation in a large number of events.


So, how is extracurricular activity actually evaluated? The review of extracurricular activities is meant to see if they align with the goals and motivations described in the essay, such as direction or determination. For example, a student who is determined to study and works two additional jobs but still finds time to teach extra lessons to students who are struggling demonstrates a strong potential to contribute to society and overcome challenges. Similarly, a student who wants to study chemistry and do research on drugs for patients because their mother is sick may be seen as more qualified if they have won awards or recognition for their work on developing anti-cancer substances from certain plants. A student who wants to study community service and has a history of participating in charity organizations and taking wedding photos for the poor may also be viewed as highly qualified. Similarly, a student who wants to study sculpture and believes that art has the power to touch people's hearts may be seen as more qualified if they have experience creating art for children in mountainous areas. In general, extracurricular activities that align with a student's goals and motivations and demonstrate a genuine passion for making a positive impact are more likely to be viewed favorably in the admissions process.

In general, extracurricular activities are only really effective when it is related to the purpose of your study and all kinds of merit are not really meaningful.




Like extracurricular activities, work experience should be relevant to the field in which you are seeking a scholarship. If you are planning to change majors, you should explain in your essay how your work experience has influenced your decision to pursue a different career path. It can be more challenging to demonstrate the value of work experience on your resume than extracurricular activities. To be effective, you should aim to show that you have progressed in your career over time, such as by being promoted from employee to team leader to middle management. If your work experience is varied and does not show a clear progression, the admissions committee may question your focus and commitment. Therefore, it is important to have sustained and upwardly mobile work experience in order to be seen as a qualified and serious candidate.


If you have made career transitions that are not directly related to your current goals, your resume should highlight the new skills and expertise you have gained in order to demonstrate that you are a well-rounded and adaptable individual. This can help to show that you are committed to personal and professional development and are capable of adapting to new environments and challenges.

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The content of the series are translated from this blog.