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Do Model UN awards give me a hook?

thenextamalclooneythenextamalclooney 3 replies2 threads New Member
Hi, so I'm thinking about applying to Columbia next year for IR/international policy, and I know I need a special "hook" in my EC's to really grab their attention and show them I'm accomplished among other applicants. I love model un and it's one of the few things I really succeed in, as debate and public speaking makes me so happy. This year I'm attending 6 conferences, one being the Harvard conference in January, and 2 others that are considered competitive and national. The others are normal high schools in the circuit here on Long Island. I plan on gaveling at least 2, and getting some sort of honorable mention or outstanding at one of the national ones. The high school circuit is significantly easier, as most of the delegates to it as a casual EC. So I guess what I'm trying to say, is that are a bunch of model un awards held at the same level as a bunch of speech and debate awards? I also started my schools mock trial and debate team, but it doesn't happen until next year, I researched if I could participate as a single and not be affiliated with a school and couldn't find any information. Btw I have more EC's, but I want to make my application centered around model un.
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Replies to: Do Model UN awards give me a hook?

  • mommyrocksmommyrocks 1204 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    Awards are viewed like this: international, national, state, local/regional, school. The important thing is the level of award in this tier. That counts more than whether your award was for Model UN or for speech and debate. Also what counts is how closely the achievements align with your intended major. If you get national awards in Model UN, that can certainly help your admissions for programs involving international affairs and policy. You would still need all the other things universities look for in GPA, challenging curriculum and test scores. Keep in mind that places like Columbia receive far more applications from qualified students than they can admit, so apply to a range of programs including admission and financial safeties that you are sure you can get in and afford.
    edited December 2017
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  • thenextamalclooneythenextamalclooney 3 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you! The reason I brought up the debate and MUN comparison is that most students that get into ivies for politics of any kind are debaters, and it's always considered prestigious. MUN is never usually brought up in that context.
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  • happy1happy1 23243 replies2302 threads Senior Member
    A hook is something that fulfills an institutional need of a college -- some typical examples are a recruited athlete, a URM, a child of a big donor, a person whose fame would bring good publicity to the college etc. What you have is a solid EC, not a hook. Very few applicants have hooks.
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  • 3puppies3puppies 1749 replies12 threads Senior Member
    I have been told that since Model UN has exploded in more and more high schools across the country, it may not be as impressive as it used to be, for the elite schools. The MUN conferences that were held ten years ago had a third of the participation / attendence that today's conferences hold. However, the flip side of this is that winning awards at higher levels is viewed as much more difficult.

    How MUN compares to speech/debate may depend on your geography/region. National awards are always prestigious, and while speech/debate national awards have been around longer than MUN, I don't think they are viewed all that differently. However, at the state level, MUN may not draw as much attention in some states as it does in others, and the elite schools might view these differently.

    Practically, I think you have to have won the top awards by your junior year for it to make a big difference in your college applications.
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  • thenextamalclooneythenextamalclooney 3 replies2 threads New Member
    The definition of hook I am using is something that all Ivies aim for in their applicants, elaborating on that, I mean significant accomplishments that would be considered "prestigious". Of course being the kid of a donor or a recruited athlete will get you in, but that isn't the connotation I am referring to. I still think winning a couple national, 1st place awards at colleges such as Stanford, Duke, Harvard, ect.. can give someone just as much as a hook for applying to a IR program as someone who wants to study physics that have won competitive science fairs.But then again, everyone has their own perspective.
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  • happy1happy1 23243 replies2302 threads Senior Member
    "Hook" is a very specific term in the college admission world. It means a situation where a college would choose you over a similarly qualified candidate. It sounds silly, but in it would be helpful to get your nomenclature in sync with the rest of CC.

    And again what you have is a strong and valuable EC (just as winning a science fair would be for a STEM major). It is generally referred to as a "spike" which is an area in which you have shown particular dedication and distinction. There will be a number of applicants to top tier colleges with equally impressive qualifications/awards. Assuming academics are up to the school standards, it is important to have strong ECs that show leadership and proficiency.
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