The 2021 Admission Equation

Successful Admission =
D x (I + U + E + R + 2C)

In 2020 and 2021, admission has become a Millennial Problem which is universally difficult to solve. While the correct answer to the question about best positioning yourself for admission to top colleges and private schools is not simple to address, One can start by understanding the equation.

By now, you’ve probably read 1000 articles about how COVID-19 has changed both college and private school admission in 2021. You’ve also probably read 1000 articles about how you should now successfully manage the admission process. While the correct answer to the question about best positioning yourself for admission to top colleges and private schools is not simple to address, it is simple to understand by setting up an equation.  On the left side of the equation, we have: “Successful Admission.” On the right side of the equation, we have the universal constant: “D”, which stands for “Demonstrate.” It is the universal constant in the world of college and private school admissions because it is now universally necessary for students to replace the previously available data with demonstrations of key metrics.  

Also, on the right side, we have the parenthetical sum of all factors which must be demonstrated. Individually, those factors are: 

  • Interest (I)
  • Understanding (U)
  • Excellence (E)
  • Resilience (R) 
  • Curiosity (C)
  • Character (C)

Demonstrated Interest refers to the need to prove to colleges and private schools your sincere interest in attending if accepted. There are various ways to accomplish this, including simply requesting information and following them on Facebook. Of course, there are many other ways to demonstrate your interest, ranging from simple to highly orchestrated.

Demonstrated Understanding refers to the extent to which a student will research a college or private school in order to understand its nature, character, and mission. Students who do not take any initiative in such explorations will likely show little interest in attending. At least this is how this lack of effort will be perceived by colleges and private schools.

Demonstrated Resilience is a measure of how well a student copes with hardship and is able to attain a record of accomplishment despite this hardship. This hardship can include the general consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, or other more individualized experiences such as coping with the loss of a family member, economic hardship, or physical or emotional challenges. Despite the real and very personal nature of hardship, colleges and private schools would much rather see how you persevered through this hardship rather than how you were held back from accomplishing your goals.

Demonstrated Curiosity is proof that you have an active and inquisitive mind. To colleges and private schools, curiosity is more likely to lead to accomplishments than is complacency. A curious mind is an active mind, and an active mind always seeks answers and solutions to everything from a simple math problem or the origin of a word, to a complex challenge of engineering or an author’s motivation in telling a story. 

Demonstrated Character is perhaps the most complex, and important, aspect of the equation. More and more colleges and private schools are indicating that character contributes an increasingly important metric into the admissions equation. Since there is no universal measure of character, each school is interpreting it differently. In general, character refers to your quality as a person. It can include factors such as sympathy, empathy, fortitude, integrity, leadership, and selflessness.

I hope that this equation provides some clarity in what has become an obfuscated process. We are in the middle of a forest that is ablaze, and we are trying to negotiate our way out. Never has this process been more complex. Never has it been more important to see yourself, stripped of your tags and titles and straight to the essence of who you are, as demonstrated by your choices, your opinions, and your actions.

Neil Chyten, Founder

NC Global Education

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