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Colter Moos offers his perspective on what to include in the university application essay

Colter Moos, an IB Diploma Programme graduate from Palm Harbor University High School and second-year undergraduate student at American University, offers his advice on the university admissions process.

What advice do you have for IB students navigating the university admissions process?

Colter: The biggest piece of advice I can give to any IB student about university admissions is to examine the aspects of your life that are conducive to your academic, social, and emotional well-being. Try to find a place that will fit you well academically in your preferred social environment.

Do you have any additional advice to give?


IB alum Colter Moos offers his advice on the university admissions process.

Colter: When deciding among the universities that you might attend, know that if it ultimately isn’t the right fit you can always transfer to a different institution. Not everyone gets their choice right the first time, but know that your first choice does not have to be your last.

What did you write your admissions essay about?

Colter: I chose to write about the time when I lost a regional election for a youth leadership board. I discussed what I learned from each step of the experience and the leadership skills I developed as a result. Ultimately, I wanted to convey just how important failure was for me in learning how to succeed.  The best advice that I can give is to be yourself, and write in a way that shows universities your writing skills.

What part of the IB Diploma Programme most prepared you for the university experience?

Colter: The level of analysis and research that must be put into the internal assessments and the extended essay make most university papers look tame. Writing ability is one of the fundamental pillars of a good IB student, and it continues to be one of the most important aspects of university-level work.

What are you studying at American University?

Colter: I am a psychology major, which I doubt I would have chosen or thought of without the IB. I have always been fascinated in why people act in the ways that they do, and what causes people to act in these ways. By taking IB Psychology HL, I was able to explore this subject, and this experience ultimately led to my decision to study psychology.

What global or national issue are you passionate about? How has this affected your educational goals?

Colter: I want to go into education reform. My hope is that through studying the psychology of how people learn, I can improve the United States’ education system, and enable more people to think critically and creatively about the world. I ultimately chose American University because being at the center of the American political world appealed to me, as I do want to learn how education policy is crafted and how reform work can be done to improve education.

Contributing author Kari Lorentson is writing about the experience of IB graduates at universities around the world. Lorentson studies at American University and previously attended Fishers High School. Contact her at

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