By Soyoung Kim
The author is Director of Gateway Online High School.
The Common Application ( the application for private universities) for Fall 2024 admissions began on the 1st of August. I highly recommend that parents, with students entering the 12th grade, instruct their children to register through the website (www.commonapp.org) as soon as possible. In addition, UC applications have opened and are ready for students to begin applying.
In particular, this year is a special situation for college applications because Affirmative Action (preferential policy for minorities) has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, therefore Affirmative Action will not be used by universities. There are many different opinions on whether these changes will be advantageous or disadvantageous to Koreans and how it will influence the appliers. In fact, it should be noted that universities have made big and small changes to their applications after the Supreme Court ruling.
Now the question that needs to be answered is how will Korean students deal with the situation?
First, it is important to research and see how sensitively the specific universities that students will be applying to are responding to the ruling. However universities cannot dismiss students who did benefit from Affirmative Action either. Universities that adhere to diversity of race, economy, and region of origin sufficiently find students from different backgrounds through high school records, extracurricular activities, and essays. In addition, in order to know what students think of racial diversity, universities have added supplemental essays with topics about the subject or even changed essay topics to fit the subject.
Furthermore, one very important factor cannot be dismissed. Even with the enforcement of Affirmative Action, top tier universities, including Ivy Leagues have had high Asian enrollment rates because of the students excellence shown through their stellar grades and extracurricular activities.
It is definite that 12th grade students use their cumulative grades and extracurricular activities from all four years in their applications and it is important to show individuality and uniqueness through the essays. The uniqueness of those on campus, also known as, diversity is not only applied through the ethnicities of different students, but from unique specialities, personalities, hobbies, passions as well as interests that they carry.
The reason why Common Apps and UCs open months earlier before the application deadline is so students start their application process early.
The college application process is not as simple as registering for the SAT through the College Board, as it takes time and effort.
To help parents understand, there are three main types of college applications. For those living in California, there are the UC affiliated application, CSU (California state) affiliated application as well as Common Application, which is catered to private universities. The process is much simpler for those who only apply to UCs or Calstates.
In particular, the Calstate application does not require essays nor teacher recommendations and can be applied to by using personal information, high school records, GPA, and SAT scores.
In addition for the UC application, including what is required for Calstates, students need to submit 4 personal statements (essays), various extracurricular activities, and volunteer information. These are the reasons why UCs require more prep time compared to the Calstate application. However, UC applications do not require teacher recommendations. There are instances where students will attach teacher recommendations for their UC applications, hoping it will be of help, however the moment it arrives in the admissions office, it becomes separated and without checking, it is thrown away. This information is what I have confirmed several times with the director of admissions and admissions officers at the annual UC Counselor Conference.
Finally the Common Application, for private universities, has similarities with the UC application. The Common Application requires detailed personal information, extracurricular activities, volunteer information as well as one elaborate personal statement.
On top of all that is required from the Common Application, students must also submit additional information that is required by each individual university. Most private universities require an additional personal statement, aside from the Common Application one. In addition, Common application requires Teacher or Counselor recommendations as well. Especially, some private universities ask for more than one essay (some can ask for up to 5 essays), therefore if a student applies to 10 private universities, they would have to write about 15 to 20 additional personal statements.
As summer vacation comes to an end, this season is when many parents begin to question when their students should begin applying since the deadline is still so far away. The first thing I recommend to the students is to register as soon as possible. This is because the feeling of having plenty of time will disappear after the students register, to actually see how much information is required and of the work that they must do.
※ [Class of 2027 Admission Rate]
|School||Class of 2027 Admission Rate||Class of 2026 Admission Rate||Class of 2025 Admission Rate|
|Carnegie Mellon University||TBA||11.30%||13.54%|
|Claremont McKenna College||TBA||10.35%||11.24%|
|(both campuses)||(Emory Campus) 15.80%|
|Harvey Mudd College||TBA||13.36%||9.99%|
|Johns Hopkins University||TBA||7.24%||7.40%|
|New York University||8.00%||12.46%||12.80%|
|Olin College of Engineering||TBA||19.14%||17.97%|
|Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||TBA||64.51%||53.06%|
|University of California – Berkeley||11.56%||11.39%||14.53%|
|University of California – Davis||37.53%||37.34%||48.74%|
|University of California – Irvine||21.00%||21.27%||26.34%|
|University of California – Merced||90.41%||89.46%||86.60%|
|University of California – Riverside||68.14%||68.69%||65.37%|
|University of California – San Diego||23.74%||23.70%||34.21%|
|University of California – Santa Barbara||25.86%||25.85%||29.18%|
|University of California – Santa Cruz||47.06%||46.85%||58.66%|
|University of Chicago||5.00%||5.44%||6.20%|
|University of Miami||TBA||18.94%||28.49%|
|University of Michigan||TBA||17.69%||20.15%|
|University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill||TBA||16.85%||19.24%|
|University of Notre Dame||11.90%||12.87%||14.60%|
|University of Pennsylvania||5.80%||6.50%||5.68%|
|University of Southern California||9.90%||11.88%||12.00%|
|University of Texas – Austin||TBA||31.41%||28.75%|
|Washington University in St. Louis||TBA||11.33%||13.00%|