Wondering what it Takes to get into a Hyper-Selective College?


Wondering what it Takes to get into a Hyper-Selective College?

With an increasing number of colleges and universities entering the realm of 4%-15% acceptance rate (or 96%-85% rejection rate), we are often asked, “Who actually gets into these schools anymore?”

Keep in mind that there are hundreds and hundreds of fantastic colleges and universities that are not hyper-selective (and many that can be attended at a steep discount). It is also important to realize that these less selective schools may not only be more realistic in terms of admissions but also a better match.

But for those wondering who has a shot at being accepted by a hyper-selective school, here is a list of the common qualities among admitted students:

--They have taken the most rigorous curriculum available and have perfect or near perfect grades, multiple 5s on AP tests, and SAT/ACT scores at or above 1500/34

--They have a strong inner drive to accomplish and are confident, mature, compassionate, and involved

--Participation, leadership and/or recognition in their activity at the state or national level

--A high degree of independence, with accomplishments that involve little parental pressure or involvement

--Genuine passion; they are not preoccupied with “what will look good to colleges”

In other words, these students have both the stats and the fire.

Students considering hyper-selective schools must exhibit a genuine passion for learning

Below are some examples of actual students who fit the bill. How do we know that? Each of these students has won the Cameron Impact Scholarship, a highly competitive, full-tuition college scholarship offered to less than 15 high school seniors per year (to learn more about the Cameron Impact Scholarship--and to read about more past winners--click here). We can safely assume that anyone capable of winning this scholarship has a realistic shot at a hyper-selective college.

Trisha P.

Trisha is a passionate change-agent, social entrepreneur, and inventor of ReThink - a patented technology to stop cyberbullying and online hate. As a Global Advocate and a Global Teen Leader selected by We are Family Foundation, Trisha has introduced ReThink to millions of students, as she travels the world speaking and raising awareness about the silent pandemic of cyberbullying at TED and many other national and international platforms. At her school, Trisha is the Founder of an anti-bullying and tolerance club and Captain of the Model United Nations. She advocates for STEM education by teaching Girls Who Code classes at the local library and is the first elected female Youth Governor for Illinois YAG in 28 years.

Margaret R.

Margaret has a passion for technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and women in STEM. She is currently on the research team at the University of Virginia Biomedical Design Lab where her efforts are focused on developing custom solutions for pediatric patients suffering from long-term illnesses. Margaret is an ANN, Inc. and Vital Voices HERlead Fellow and recently received a grant to continue her work to encourage women in STEM. She was the Emcee and the Facilitator for Women in Entrepreneurship for the 2017 Tom Tom Festival Youth Summit, she was a conference organizer and seminar instructor at CAPWIC, and she has spoken on the panel at the Virginia Film Festival that featured the film She Started It. In 2017, Margaret was an Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Finalist and she developed a patent pending wearable that is designed to reduce the occurrence of diabetic foot ulcers and related deaths and amputations. Margaret was one of six high school students nationally chosen by PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox as the next generation of female leaders in STEM. Margaret's favorite hobbies are swing dancing (she founded the club at her high school) and scuba diving while hunting lionfish, which are an invasive species in the Atlantic.

Vinjai V.

Vinjai has a passion for scientific discovery, intellectual curiosity, and maximizing the potential of his peers.  He credits his love for problem-solving to his unconventional homeschooling background. He co-invented IntentSense, a prosthetic control system for finger amputees, and he also founded KidsTeachKids, a math tutoring organization, while he was in middle school.  At Exeter, Vinjai co-heads the Math, Computing, Physics, and Robotics Outreach clubs. He spearheaded an annual 48-hour Puzzle Hunt at his school and co-founded hackNEHS, a high-school hackathon in the Greater Boston area. In his free time, he has been working on artificial intelligence research tackling a visual scene analysis problem facing state-of-the-art programs, such as those in autonomous vehicles. Additionally, Vinjai attended the Research Science Institute at MIT and co-authored a book on algebra and number theory.

Bridger G.

In addition to his strong academics, Bridger has a passion for innovation, agriculture, and community service. Bridger is an active leader in Future Farmers of America, 4-H, and his school's Student Council and Debate clubs. He is dedicated to serving his community in rural South Dakota. Bridger has served as a correspondent for local and regional newspapers (like the Meade Co. Times-Tribune, Bear Butte Breezes, and Rapid City Journal). Bridger has spent countless hours volunteering in his community through educating the students and public about the importance of agriculture, while also spearheading the creation of the Teens Teach Technology program to help the senior citizen community connect with their family and friends through technology.

Anne L.

Anne has a passion for the environment, engineering, and education. As the co-founder and President of Schools Under 2C, she leads a student team to reduce their school's carbon footprint while challenging other schools around the world to do the same. Last summer, she attended the Research Science Institute and conducted clean energy research at MIT. Anne also co-founded STEMcademy and Operation Sustain to educate younger students and promote STEM education in her community. Additionally, she always makes time to regularly volunteer at the Humane Society.

David W.

David’s research in the diagnosis of and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has been internationally recognized and he has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. Outside of the laboratory, David is the director of Bluegrass Youth Arts, a non-profit program that provides humanities education for underprivileged students and refugees, and was awarded developmental grants from government and private organizations. He also served as captain of the Academic Team, editor-in-chief of The Element, and concertmaster of the Symphonic Orchestra.

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