How to Get Into the Top Universities in the World
Admission officers take into account your high school grades, extra-curricular activities, assignment marks, test scores, exam results, testimonials, and the results of the interview itself.
All of these factors determine whether your admission into university is successful or not. With the number of university applicants rising each year, students must work harder than ever to boost their chances of getting into the top universities in the world.
These days, you need to produce more than just excellent grades. Admission officers also look for students who have a genuine enthusiasm for the university itself, a distinctive element that separates themselves from the rest, and a willingness to make a positive contribution to the campus community.
Let’s take a look at the top universities in the world and what it takes to be accepted.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Since 2012, MIT has been ranked the best university in the world according to the QS World University Rankings. From research to facilities, employability and innovation, MIT has achieved excellent marks in every possible category.
MIT is also notable for its forward-thinking research department, which has been a leader in the research of global issues including energy conservation, cancer therapy, identity politics and public servicing.
How to Get into MIT: The best chance of getting into MIT is to achieve very high grades, take weighted courses to boost your ATAR score, and participate in extra-curricular activities that genuinely interest you.
- Stanford University
Based in California, Stanford University is renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit and influence on the tech world and Silicon Valley.
Stanford produces high-achieving students form every subject including Art and Humanities, Engineering and Technology, Life Sciences and Medicine, Social Sciences and Management, and Natural Sciences.
As one of the top universities in the world, Stanford University has stringent minimum entry requirements and highly selective criteria.
How to Get Into Stanford: Stanford has an acceptance rate of only 5.1%. The campus looks beyond excellent academics (which you still must have, or make up for lower scores in other ways) and instead pays attention to students who can make a significant and positive impact on the world. It also helps to excel in particular areas – i.e. being a leader in sports or the orchestra – rather than just being a ‘well-rounded’ individual.
- Harvard University
Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest higher education institution in the United States. According to the latest QS World University Rankings, Harvard excelled in Life Sciences and Medicine, Social Sciences and Management.
Many influential figures have studied at Harvard including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack and Michelle Obama, along with other former U.S presidents.
How to Get Into Harvard: The average unweighted GPA for the class of 2017 at Harvard was 3.94 (out of 4!) so you’ll need to aim for those marks to increase your chances. However, applicants must impress the admission officers by meeting other requirements such as participating in extra-curricular activities, writing essays, and submitting letters of recommendation.
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Caltech rose from 5th to 4th place in the latest QS World University Rankings in 2018.
In the early 20th century, Caltech attracted notable scientists such as George Elllery Hale and Robert Andrews Millikan. Since then, the campus has maintained a strong emphasis on many areas of science and continues to excel in biological science, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, astronomy, earth and marine sciences, and natural sciences.
How to Get Into Caltech: Caltech has an extremely low acceptance rate (about 9%). Students are required to achieve near-straight A’s in every class which would translate to the high 90s in the ATAR. Students should also be already involved in research and be prepared with multiple letters of recommendations.
- University of Cambridge
Despite dropping from 2nd to 5th place over the past few years, Cambridge University remains the highest ranking university in the UK. The campus has a long, rich history of academic excellence in the field of research, innovation and teaching. It also has an impressive alumni ranging from Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.
How to Get Into Cambridge: Previously successful applicants have commented on the campus’ challenging interview process. Applicants are expected to have an excruciatingly sound knowledge on their chosen subject, and be able to convincingly voice their opinion on certain topics with hard evidence and very specific details.
- University of Oxford
Considering that Cambridge was developed by former Oxford scholars, there are many similarities between Oxford and Cambridge.
Oxford University is currently ranked the No.6 University in the world. It is also the oldest English-language University in the world and regarded for its highly-selective process, distinctive college structure, and excellence in many fields of research.
How to Get Into Oxford: Oxford generally accepts applicants who have achieved A-level results but also considers applicants with similar qualifications such as Advanced Diplomas, Foundation Degrees, International Qualifications, and Vocational Qualifications. Extracurricular activities can help candidates, but they should be relevant to the selection criteria of the course you’re applying for.
- University College London (UCL)
UCL is the third-largest university in the United Kingdom. It is also the first campus in England to be entirely secular and admit students regardless of their religious preference. As a leading multidisciplinary university, UCL is renowned for academic excellence in the fields of Medicine, Language, Law, History, Engineering and Astrophysics.
How to Get Into UCL: As an internationally renowned campus, UCL favours candidates who speak a foreign language. However, candidates can also improve their application by meeting certain A-level requirements and choosing subjects that you enjoy, will perform well in, and want to pursue over the long-term.
- ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Based in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, ETH Zurich is a highly prestigious university with expertise in engineering and technology. With over 20,000 students and 500 professors from over 120 countries, ETH Zurich is a central hub for the scientific community that has made positive contributions in the field of physics, mathematics and chemistry.
ETH Zurich is regularly ranked as one of the top universities in the world and is the highest ranking university in Switzerland.
How to Get Into ETH Zurich: As most Bachelor level programs are instructed in German, international candidates are encouraged to be fluent in the language. Candidates must demonstrate excellence in study performance and meet the specific requirements of their desired course.
- Imperial College London
The Imperial College London is an innovative public research facility that offers selective courses in Medicine, Engineering, Natural Sciences and Business.
Imperial College London prides itself on finding innovative solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. It achieves this by offering world-class teachers, facilities and resources to produce the next generation of leading scientists, researchers, engineers and academics.
How to Get Into Imperial College London: The college has high minimum entry requirements. Most candidates are required to achieve at least A*AA-A*AAA for A-levels or 40/45 in IB. However, admission officers also consider relevant work experience and references.
- University of Chicago
University of Chicago is a private research campus with many top-ten national and international rankings.
The campus has an impressive alumni portfolio with over 92 Nobel laureates, 53 Rhodes Scholars, and 13 billionaire graduates. Chicago University has also led breakthroughs in researching links between cancer and genetics, improving the urban school system, and various economic theories.
How to Get Into University of Chicago: Over 27,500 students apply to UCHI every year. Students are expected to achieve a 4.0 GPA or equivalent, along with extracurricular activities to meet relevant entry requirements and excelling in the University of Chicago Extended Essay program.
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