(Original post by superboy123)
I am currently applying for the Sutton Trust US Programme so that I can get an idea of what university is like in the US. I really want to get into the programme and I really want advice on how I can have a better chance of getting in. I have achieved 8 A*/A grades at GCSE including a 9 in maths and English literature.
I want advice from any people that have previously been on this programme on how to write the perfect application and I want to know about their experience on the one week residential.
Also I would like help on answering the 5 questions for the essays:
1. Tell us how and when you became interested in studying in the US, why you think undergraduate study in the US would be a good fit for you and if applicable, any steps you have taken to research undergraduate study in the US.
2. Out of the eight activities you described in the extracurricular activities section, please tell us more about the activity you feel had the most impact on others (your school, community, society, etc.) What motivated you to get involved in this activity? In what ways have you had an impact – in other words, how specifically are others better off because of your participation?
3. Tell us about an aspect of your life that you feel is so fundamental to your identity that your application would be incomplete without it, and how this has shaped who you are today. This could be an event, experience or aspect of the world you come from (your family, school, background, culture or community).
4. Imagine you are 80 years old and you are looking back on your adult life. What contribution have you made to the world?
5. If you were a professor at an American university and the president of the university said you could create a course to teach for a semester, what would the title of your course be? (Use your imagination, it could be about anything!)
Thanks in advance
Hey, I'm currently on the programme (cohort 6) and was admitted to a US university just last week! I can't stress enough how incredible the Sutton Trust is - they provide tuition for standardised tests, food, free trip to America, an overnight stay in a hotel the night before standardised tests, friends for life - I could go on!
In terms of my experience on the April residential I was quite nervous because I didn't know anyone. However, the minute you get there you are placed in a group of usually around 10 people (of the same gender as you) who you get to know really well. You end up doing plenty of ice-breakers so the programme and the other people get to know you. The residential basically provides you with extra info about the US university life and application process for you to decide if it's definitely for you. The programmes gives you plenty of free food and drink and you stay in LSE accommodation. If you want more specifics about the first residential just let me know.
As for a "perfect" application my biggest advice would be try to be yourself. I know that sounds really cliche but the reason the application is so long is because they want to know what you're like and what your into. Most of my application focused on the fact that I was interested in a little bit of everything and needed more time to explore different subjects and that's why I wanted to do the whole US liberal arts thing. For demonstrating interest in the US, maybe think of starting up a quick blog on tumblr, did you go to USA College Day, have you already started researching universities other than the Ivy League etc.
For Q2, brainstorm all the activities you do (maybe think of starting some new ones in case you do end up applying to the US). Then, pick the one you can talk the most about. Maybe you're into music, volunteering, maths - it doesn't matter - as long as you have a small story that you can expand on and talk about what you learnt/achieved go for it!
For questions 3, don't be afraid of being personal. A lot of people share unique anecdotes/stories about their lives - even if it doesn't seem unique to you it can help them get to know you. It can be something recent or something that happened when you were younger. Remember there's no right answer, just try and write passionately. Try making a list of things/stories/problems (big or small) and go from there.
It won't hurt you if you try to have something in your video/essay that stands out (I used a very elaborate cactus metaphor in my video!) but it's not the most important thing. For example, on the last question about the course I overthought mine waayy to much - they showed us some submitted ones at the residential and they were all really funny, whereas I thought the whole thing had to be serious. The same goes for Q4 don't think to much about it. Mine was really cheesy about wanting to make an impact on both my local and global community - everyone probs says the same kinda thing.
For any of the questions you can try asking you're friends because they might remember something about you that you haven't thought of yet.
Anyway, I'm aware that this has become a bit of an essay now (sorry!) but if you want anymore advice just let me know. The programme has literally changed my life - I'll be heading to America next year, graduating debt free and getting a scholarship worth over $70,000 a year - so I'd love to help any potential Sutton Trusters out.