How Model United Nations Can Help You Get Into College

by Ryan on September 16, 2010

It takes more than good grades and strong test scores to get into competitive colleges like Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. High school students today have to stand out by excelling in their extracurricular activities. Many do this through sports, science, or the arts, but others join activities such as speech and debate, mock trial, and Model United Nations.

While not everyone who does MUN makes it their main activity, many invest a considerable amount of their time and energy into it. Model United Nations is a large part of their personal growth as a high school student, and they can leverage their MUN experience to get into college.

Stand Out and Deliver

Model United Nations is the reason I got into Yale. I started doing MUN because it was a fun way to study history, but it also developed my communication skills and gave me the confidence to express myself. As I devoted more time to the activity, I gained leadership experience by winning awards, chairing committees, running conferences, and training my club. When I started applying to college, I was able to seek advice from people I’d met through MUN who were attending or had attended competitive colleges.

In my personal essay, I specifically wrote about Model United Nations. I described my love of singing as a kid, and how disappointed I was when I got to high school and realized I lacked the vocal talent to really excel at it. Instead, I focused my energies on Model United Nations and public speaking competitions, where I was much more successful. I found that if I couldn’t express myself creatively through singing, I could do it through public speaking. The title of my essay was “Finding My Voice.”

Drawing from my experience, here are 3 tips for using Model United Nations to get into college:

1. Demonstrate leadership by winning awards, chairing committees, running conferences, and training your club.

Admissions officers are looking for examples of leadership. Model United Nations offers many opportunities to demonstrate leadership. As a delegate, you win awards by becoming a leader in committee. As a chair, your job is to lead other delegates. As a conference organizer, you have to manage chairs and support staff. And as you rise through the ranks of your MUN club, you can pass on your knowledge to others. MUN is all about leadership; the very premise of the activity is pretending to be a world leader for a weekend.

2. Seek advice from people you’ve met through MUN who are attending or have attended competitive colleges.

You can read books and blogs about how to get into competitive colleges, but the best source of advice comes from speaking with people who’ve already done it. Whether it’s alumni from your school, older delegates you’ve met at conferences, or chairs who are already in college, MUN provides a network of people you can reach out to for advice.

3. Reflect on your MUN experience in essays and interviews.

It’s not enough to put down awards you’ve won or conferences you’ve run on your list of accomplishments. You have to communicate your success to admissions officers through essays and interviews. Reflection takes time; it’s not something you can do the night before the application due date or the day of your interview. It also requires solitude; you really have to think deeply about yourself, who you are, and what you want to do.

Model United Nations can be a vehicle for personal growth. Leverage your experience and your network. Use it to launch yourself into the next stage of your student career. Model United Nations is your opportunity to stand out.

How do you use Model United Nations to stand out? Join the discussion below!

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