Final Thoughts on Going Above and Beyond



Updated June 8, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resources—including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

Once you begin looking for jobs in the new country, you will realize that a lot of the things you learn for the interview won’t be of use in your day-to-day life on the job. Yet, it’s important to still learn them because they make you think and be prepared. Your application process to get admitted follows a similar analogy. Every component of your application says something about you. The optional components, asking you to make a video or write an essay on diversity, show that you’re someone who goes above and beyond. You’re someone who goes that extra mile. We hope you do.

A video is a condensed version of your story. You only get about five minutes to say it, so choose one of the three approaches that we mentioned in the chapter. Connecting the dots approach is best if you can see a common thread between disparate events from your past. Big idea approach is best if you grew up with a strong conviction of what you wanted to do. Linear line approach is best if your career has so far had a vertical path, with every experience leading seamlessly to the next one. While shooting it, think of ways you can infuse your creativity or skill. Sai used props; can you do something similar? Can you shoot in a unique location? All these will grab real estate in the minds of the admissions committee and make you memorable.

Most universities only ask you to write a statement of purpose. But, if yours wants you to also go the extra mile and write an essay on diversity (or another topic), that’s great! It gives you one more opportunity to ponder interesting questions. Diversity and inclusion has become a very hot topic right now, and for good reason. You will realize how powerful it is as soon as you sit through a lecture where you hear opinions from students coming from different countries. We gave you a four-part framework you can follow to write this essay: begin with your encounter with those who were underrepresented or underprivileged, mention what you did to help them, talk about the impact you created (don’t be modest here!), and finally end it with your plans for the future.

With that, you’ve hopefully reached the end of your application process.

A Little Reflection on the Extra Mile

thinkWhat prop do you think best brings out your creativity and/or a unique skill?

Have you ever felt that you were underrepresented due to your gender, race, or ethnicity?

Is there a social organization at the university you’re applying to that you would like to join?

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