It’s no secret that getting into the best colleges in the U.S. is incredibly hard for all applicants, but if you’re a woman, it’s a lot harder than it should be. There is a fairly wide gap between acceptance rates for men and women in a lot of schools but it is particularly bad when it comes to the schools at the top of the leaderboard. What you might not realize is that the reason for this is because a large number of schools do not have to abide by discrimination laws. A public school that receives state funding has to follow laws that make it illegal to discriminate by gender. However, the elite schools that are not state-funded do not have to follow these rules; they are exempt from Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination. That means it is perfectly legal for them to discriminate against you because you’re a woman. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to get in at all, but it is going to be an uphill battle. If you’ve got your sights set on a top college, here are a few tips to help level the playing field.
Perform Well In High School
This might seem obvious but it’s still worth mentioning. On average, women tend to perform better than men at high school, but men are still getting into colleges more easily. That means you don’t just need to outperform them by a small amount. If your grades are significantly higher, it is more difficult for an admissions officer to justify taking a man with lower grades instead of you.
Grades aren’t usually enough on their own. Make sure that you are engaging in plenty of extra curricular activities. Having these on your application will take it to the next level and differentiate you from your male peers. Advanced placement courses can give you a good head start because you can start earning college credits while you’re still in high school, that way you can prove that you’re capable before you’ve even applied.
Make Your Essay Stand Out
Admissions will be based on your grades to some extent but when there are so many applicants, that isn’t enough to choose between candidates. The essay is often the thing that makes or breaks an application so make sure you put enough focus on it. Veer away from anything boring that admissions officers are likely to have seen a thousand times before. Seek the advice of a college essay specialist before submitting the application and they’ll be able to tell you whether your idea is unique enough. If it isn’t, you’ll need to do a rewrite. The best essays are personal ones that say something about who you are as a person. Admissions officers want to get a sense of the applicant through the essay. Think of it as your chance to prove you have all of the same qualities as your male counterparts, and that you are as capable as they are.
People will often tell you that your online presence is important when you are looking for jobs, but we forget about it when it comes to applying for college. The truth is, it’s just as important. It’s another way for admissions officers to get a good sense of who you are as a person to help them inform their decision. The first thing to do is get rid of anything inappropriate that you might have on there. Instead of posting pictures of you on a night out, make posts about any educational achievements that you’ve made. Think of it as a showcase of all of your skills and talents.