Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton… These are some of the world’s most prestigious universities. One of the ways they have maintained an unparalleled reputation and brand value all these decades is that they accept only the brightest students.

But then this doesn’t mean they want students who have a perfect GPA. In fact, some universities don’t pay much attention to grades as many people assume. USA Today writes “Admissions officers at some of the nation’s most selective colleges, who are now sending acceptance letters for their fall freshman classes, say they barely look at an applicant’s GPA.”

Instead, these universities want students who excel overall; students who have all-round aptitude; students who not only have good IQ but also great emotional intelligence. And this is something international students (and parents) must keep in mind if they want to study at any of the top universities.

For instance, if you have scored exceptionally well in your boards or undergrad exam, that doesn’t guarantee a spot at any top institute. A non-convincing admission essay can break the deal for you. Similarly, the opposite is just as true. Even if you have scored “okay” and your academic track record isn’t excellent, a great admission essay – along with recommendation letters – can ensure your admission to a top university.

What Top Universities Want?

But all said, it’s worth mentioning that you must have a “presentable” and justifiable academic background. To that, each of the top universities – be it MIT, Harvard, Oxford, Cornell, Yale, or more – have their own set of values and mission that define their admission process and criteria. So, there are definitely specific requirements that they prefer international students to fulfill.

For example, Harvard University, when screening applicants, looks for growth and potential, interests and activities, and personal character. They also consider how the applicant can contribute to the Harvard Community. Based on these they decide whether to proceed with the applicant or not. Stanford has its own process. It says “There is no minimum GPA or test score; nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to be admitted to Stanford.”

So, if you want to study at any of the world’s top universities, you have to prepare in every department, and not just focus on your grades. Consult an overseas education consultant and get their help in planning and preparation. They can assist you in successfully applying to a top university.

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