Delegates who are just starting their Model UN careers can find themselves wondering if it will really help them in the future, or if it’s just another activity. While it’s true that most high school MUNers won’t find themselves forming resolution blocs in their future careers, there are still tons of practical benefits that Model UN can bring. Joining MUN as a freshman could easily pay off a few years down the road, when it’s time to apply for college.
Writing skills, extracurricular activities, and face-to-face interviews are critical when it comes to college admissions, and applicants can find themselves struggling to piece those skills together and present themselves as well-rounded students. Luckily, Model UN can help high school students develop their writing and speaking abilities, giving those delegates an advantage when they apply.
We asked two MUN Institute alumni about their college application experiences, and how Model UN helped them out along the way:
Daniel Gordon is an alumnus of three summer programs at the MUN Institute and a high school senior. He has served as Secretary-General for the second and third annual John Jay High School Model UN Conference in New York, which he co-founded at the end of his freshman year.
John Salchak is a high school senior from Texas who has attended the Ambassador and Secretary-General programs at the MUN Institute since beginning his MUN career as a freshman. For the last two years, he has been his club’s president, and is currently a Media Associate for Training Content on Best Delegate’s media team.
In general, what skills have you learned from MUN that helped you apply for college?
“Several modules from the Model United Nations Institute were particularly helpful with college applications,” Daniel responded. “Understanding social dynamics and crisis strategy helps to prepare for interviews and college essays. In addition, the resolution writing modules help to create a concise and organized format for answering any questions on the applications.”
John replied that MUN-specific skills played a much smaller role in his experience. “However, if I had required interviews, the skills learned in MUN would have helped me a lot,” he told us. In addition, MUN played a role in determining what John wanted to study. “It made me realize what I wanted to go to school for! I always played around with different career ideas such as economics, but once I started MUN and learning about international relations, I knew I found what I wanted to do.”
How were MUN opportunities a factor in deciding which schools you applied to?
Best Delegate’s latest rankings place the University of Chicago, Georgetown, and Harvard at the top of the North American MUN circuit. These highly ranked schools are known for competitive teams that have gaveled at some of the world’s most prestigious conferences. With opportunities like that, it’s not surprising that these universities often attract high school delegates looking to continue with Model UN.
Both of the alumni cited existing Model UN programs as criteria for choosing which schools to consider. “I didn’t only apply to schools with MUN programs, but a majority of them do,” John said. “Being able to continue my MUN career is a priority of mine, so my top choice schools all have successful teams and/or host conferences. Throughout high school I have been responsible for my club, so it would be nice to go somewhere with an established program so I don’t have to build one from scratch.” Daniel mentioned that MUN tied in closely with academics, noting that “MUN opportunities generally reflect superb International Relations or Political Science departments.”
Did you mention MUN awards or leadership positions as part of your extracurricular experience?
Good grades and impressive test scores are certainly helpful on college applications, but colleges also want to see students take initiative beyond the classroom through extracurricular activities. Whether they’re sports, clubs, or community service, it’s always good idea to stay involved with extracurriculars. The same goes for Model UN. On top of the practical skills of writing and speaking, MUN also allows students to achieve awards and leadership positions that can help their applications stand out, because sometimes it doesn’t hurt to brag.
Daniel said that he mentioned his experience leading JJMUNC II and III in the past two years, a conference which he helped build from the ground up. John went even further with his own application. “I filled this out, mentioned MUN, the awards I’ve won, my experience with the MUN Institute and the Best Delegate Media Team, as well as my own club’s leadership positions,” he said.
Model UN is a fun, engaging, and educational activity that can provide vital skills to students. Get started this summer with the Diplomat Program from the Model United Nations Institute!
Check out Best Delegate’s free e-book “How Model UN Can Help You Get into College”