One of the goals of Best Delegate is to help high school students use Model UN to get into college. We released a free e-book, How Model UN Can Help You Get into College, wrote 10 Tips on How to Write your College Application Essay, and talked about 5 Ways to Show Leadership in Model UN.
Several days ago, Ryan and I were having a discussion about college admissions and college rankings when I brought up an interesting question: Do certain colleges seem to value Model UN more than others?
Part of my inquiry was derived from a 2009 press release I saw from my alma mater, UCLA, where Model UN was mentioned next to many other prestigious accomplishments of admitted students:
UCLA, the most popular campus in the nation, with 55,676 freshman applicants, announced today that it had admitted 12,098 prospective freshmen for fall 2009.
Among them were 175 student body presidents; more than 150 National AP Scholars; 400 most valuable players in their sports; nearly 900 outstanding musicians; almost 300 Eagle Scouts and Girl Scout leaders; more than 200 black belts in various martial arts; some 500 Science Olympians; about 500 recipients of book awards from Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton and other universities; more than 150 Model United Nations delegates; more than 150 recipients of Rotary Youth Leadership Awards; and 3,000 who indicated they were captains of their sports or academic teams.
UCLA seems to value Model UN. But does it value it more than USC? How about when we compare the University of Chicago with Northwestern? Or Michigan State and Illinois-Chicago against their respective state flagship rivals? And how do Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and Penn stack up against each other?
When we take two similar-caliber universities and compare their Model UN programs, we can see big differences:
Case A: The University of Chicago (ranked #9 in the 2011 US News Rankings) has a powerhouse Model UN program with a gigantic high school conference, one of the top crisis-based college conferences, one of the best travel teams in the college circuit, and leadership in UNA-USA’s Global Classrooms Chicago program. Neighboring Northwestern University (ranked #12) has a mid-sized high school conference that is only in its seventh year in existence.
Case B: The University of California, Los Angeles (ranked #25) is also one of the top Model UN programs in the country with a large high school conference, a growing college conference, a strong travel team, and leadership in UNA-USA’s Global Classrooms Los Angeles program. Cross-town rival the University of Southern California (ranked #23) only has a small travel team.
There are also multiple examples where the state’s flagship public university does not have the premier Model UN program in the state:
Case C: Michigan State University (ranked #79) has one of the largest high school conferences in the Midwest, a competitive travel team, and active participation in UNA-USA’s Global Classrooms program, while the flagship University of Michigan (#29) focuses on hosting a mid-sized high school conference.
Case D: University of Illinois-Chicago (ranked #143) hosts a large high school conference, fields a competitive travel team, and helped found the Model UN Development Organization, while the flagship University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (#47) operates a smaller high school conference, a recently-started college conference, and travels locally.
Finally, let’s take a look at the very top of the US News Rankings where several Ivy League institutions and their peers reside:
Case E: Harvard (ranked #1), Yale (ranked #3) and Penn (tied for #5) have developed mega-sized conferences and elite travel teams. Simply put, these three universities have some of the top Model UN programs in the world. Comparable universities such as Princeton (ranked #2) and Stanford (tied for #5) have strong Model UN programs, but they haven’t developed to the extent that Harvard, Yale, and Penn have in terms of conference size at the high school and college levels (Stanford doesn’t have a college conference) and competitiveness and funding of their travel teams. Why is that the case?
Do certain colleges value Model UN more than others and therefore accept more students with quality Model UN experience? Or do these colleges with strong Model UN programs simply have a more conducive environment to MUN? Regardless, they are all looking for leadership experience and that means you need to be able to communicate your accomplishments and experience in your application, essay, and interviews.
For help with your college essays or to learn more about which universities have top Model UN programs, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you think certain colleges value Model UN more than others? Let us know in the comments!
Editor’s Note: Today is the deadline for students applying to the University of California system. Best Delegate wishes good luck to all those who are applying!