“Getting into a great university requires you to be well-rounded. It’s so important to be involved in everything, from academics to community service to clubs to sports to music. But it’s not just about being involved, it’s also about pushing yourself to excel and showing that you have the passion and diligence and tenacity to succeed at it all.”
Carnegie Mellon University
“I would say that personality—enthusiasm, adaptability, leadership—is really important because when you're applying to a top university, even if you have perfect grades, even if you're in the top percentage at your school, you're still competing against all the students who are at the top of their respective schools, and personality is what can set you apart.“
“To sum up in one word the key to getting into a top school, I would venture differentiation." Good grades and high test scores may be a prerequisite, but they do not tell much to an admissions committee. What stands out to them, of course, is what makes a student stand out from his peers. This translates into not succumbing to peer pressure; not copying what others have done, but instead forging a path unbeaten by others. At the end of the day, there is less of a race to be better than others, and more of a process to find the best self a student can be.”
University of California, Berkeley
“Outside of the standard things like good grades and test scores, it‘s very important to exhibit an outside interest in something - something that you put hours of your time into every week and are very passionate about."
Johns Hopkins University
“The most important factor in getting into a good university is to show consistency throughout your application. Establish who you are and show that you are passionate about your interests. Colleges want a diverse population, and students with strong identities will help to round out their student bodies."
“I believe that some of the factors of getting into a top university, first and foremost, are your extracurricular activities, awards, and essays. Through these, universities have a better glimpse of the type of person you are and what you can offer the school. The second most important factor is your academics. Top universities have an elite quota to fill, so they want to see excellent test scores and grades.