Curious about the Level of Prestige for a Certain Award in Regards to College Admissions

Yo, how’s it going.

I have recently been notified that I won 5th place in the national InvestWrite contest. Basically, I competed with 15,000 other high schoolers (from grades 9-12) around the United States to write an essay pitching a complex investment strategy of my own design to the best of my abilities, and the panel of judges decided that my essay ranked fifth among all of them. I won this award as a freshman, or in 9th grade.

Now that you’re done hearing me brag (I’m not trying to), I was hoping that someone here could judge the level of prestige of this award in comparison to awards in other competitions like biology olympiad or ISEF. I am asking because I want to know whether this award can serve as the top-billed achievement on my college application. I heard you need some sort of spike, or incredibly difficult-to-attain achievement to separate yourself from other applicants when it comes to college admissions since it can show that you are one of the best in the world/nation at whatever you are interested in. Btw, I am interested in pursuing a major/career in finance and economics, so this award is relevant to the narrative of my

Thanks for your time.

Well, I think it comes down to the overall you. So your GPA and test score, rank if you have, and rigor are always going to be the main driver. Your ECs will count as will your LORs, to a certain degree depending on the schools. So you need to make your list of reach, target, safety, like anyone else.

So you’ve won this award and now finished 5th - so that’s awesome and worth bragging about. So it will come down to quantifying it on your application. It’s not an EC but award and in general awards or Honor Societies have little meaning. It’s what activity did you do to get it - so make sure you quantify it - because you did win amongst 15K kids.

More important though is what extra curriculars have you done. Are you in an Investment Club or better yet, have you started one at school that shows leadership, tenacity, grit, and tenure.

This is a nice to have but it likely won’t have huge impact. If your essay was 250-650 words, you might have finished your Common App essay though, perhaps with a little edit to make sure it fits - so that would be a big weight off.

Congrats to you and good luck.

thanks. appreciate the advice.