While we devoted time last week to advice on addressing weaknesses in one’s academic record, today we wanted to explore the other side of the issue: the strengths that lie in your undergraduate record.
Beyond issues of aptitude or previous achievement, there are a number of other things that your academic profile might say about you. For instance, if you have a range of quant-focused classes in your record, this might create the impression that you are well prepared for the sort of coursework you would undertake in business school. Meanwhile, if you have pursued extensive coursework in an area beyond the more traditional disciplines of economics, business administration or engineering, this could indicate some unique interest or perspective that you would bring to the classroom.
For example, applicants who pursued significant language study or took a number of classes in disciplines such as sociology, psychology, art, etc., will stand out among candidates who focused primarily on math, engineering or business courses in college. Along these lines, applicants whose transcripts show they studied abroad as undergraduates may be seen as more globally aware or as better prepared to work with an international student body.
In addition, for applicants who held a part-time job or were involved in a number of extracurricular activities during college, high grades might be taken as a sign of a solid work ethic and strong organizational or time management skills. Finally, because many college students don’t take their studies seriously for some or all of their time at college, consistently strong grades could be taken as a sign of maturity and responsibility at an early age.
As you can see, there are a number of things that the adcom could conclude about an applicant’s general qualities and characteristics simply by looking at his or her transcript. This should encourage you to think about the more abstract ways that your academic record reflects your positive qualities and consider ways that you could convey this information in your application.