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Can there be a “Capstone” Project in the Student’s Profile?

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By Hubert Ho | Head of Admissions Consulting Services, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions

In the past few weeks, several parents asked me to help their child to build a “capstone” project during their high school journey for college admissions purpose. To be honest, it is quite shocked to hear such request. Building a “capstone” project is a very low-level arrangement for competitive profiling strategy nowadays. The so-called project shouldn’t be able to be recognized as a “capstone” since it will be too “artificial”. It will be too easy for an experienced admissions officer to spot that. If you were the admissions officer, would you still call that capstone project a passion? Probably NOT.

A lot of admissions counselors are telling the prospective client that they will help the students to find internship, organizations for volunteering as well as guiding them for a “capstone” or signature project, etc. All those tricks are revealed by the elite school’s Adcom and it won’t work anymore.

Here is my advice:

  • Don’t try to impress the Adcom with the tricks below:
    • by writing a research paper
    • by building an obvious capstone project in junior or senior year
    • by participating many internships or voluntary works
    • by establishing a new society or club at school
    • by being a president of a student union

For any of the aforesaid tricks, it is very hard for students to show their growth. Also, the new term “CIVIL ENGAGEMENT” appears recently, and it becomes the key to success for elite school admissions. This new criterion looks like a very simple term but actually consists of multiple measurements, e.g. time commitment, leadership, analytical skills, problem-solving skills, etc.

Parents and students should understand that profiling is a very long process, and it must not be an artificial process. It requires to have a detailed planning with the utilization of surrounding resources. The “capstone” project needs to be fused with the whole 4-year high school life and not just suddenly appear!

Need more information on how we can help you? Come and speak with our Admissions Counselor: https://bit.ly/3teynbI

Mr. Hubert Ho

Head of Admissions Consulting Services, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
Associate Member of IECA, Member of NACAC and AEE
MCom (Finance), UNSW
BCom (Management & Marketing), University of Wollongong

  • 10 years+ of experience in education industry
  • 100% of his students got admitted to Top 3 choices & Top 50 US National Colleges and G5 UK Universities
  • Proven track record helping students gain admission to US prestigious colleges including Yale University, Stanford University, Cornell University, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, New York University, Boston University

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