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Listing music awards on college application resume


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My ds will be applying to colleges this fall (!). I am wondering how to list certain piano awards. He has been in two state competitions where he has come in second place in the state. However, they are not awarded as "second place." The one for the MTNA is listed as "alternate," and the one for the state music teachers' association is listed as "runner-up." I am wondering if it is okay to simply list the award as "second place," or "second place in state," or something similar. While a music person might know what the MTNA is and what "alternate" means, I am not sure an admissions person will. "Second place in state," seems a lot clearer to me. My ds will likely submit a music supplement with the common app, but he he is not going to be auditioning and applying to be a music performance major. It's a pretty high level of achievement especially for one who isn't going into music, and I would like it to be as clear as possible. On the other hand, if a music person reviews is, they may very well know that (especially for MTNA) there is no such thing as "second place in state" that is awarded. That's what it is, but that isn't what it's called. I don't want it to be too long!! "MTNA state competition alternate = 2nd place" seems a bit much!


Any ideas on how to word these in a way that isn't arduous but also conveys the level of achievement for a potential non musical reader of an application?




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I had to deal with similar situations for both my dc--both won high level honors in music, yet were not going to major in music. It was tricky to list these concisely in the awards sections of college applications, and in a way that would convey the level of honor to a non-music person. I think it's fine to use "second place." You could use "alternate" if you qualify it a bit, such as "alternate 1st place winner", which is what it really is after all! We sometimes used the words "winner" and "selected" as well.


Here's how a couple of ours turned out:

Statewide Junior Young Artists Piano Competition--Honorable Mention (out of 85 participants)

Twice selected (by audition) as one of 4 top-level piano students statewide to solo at xxx graduation concert in xyz city...


Just brainstorming a bunch of ideas, you could do:


"2nd place winner in two statewide piano competitions"


Or if you want to list them separately:

"2nd place winner in statewide MTNA piano competition"

"2nd place winner in statewide music teacher's association competition"


Or if you wanted to use the actual terms:

"Selected as the alternate 1st place winner in statewide MTNA piano competition"

"Selected as the runner-up in statewide music teacher's assocition competition"


Using the word "the" would help indicate there's only one alternate, only one runner-up.


Or listing the competition first, which is fewer words and looks nice:

Statewide MTNA Piano Competition--2nd place (or "alternate 1st place winner")

Statewide Music Teacher's Association Competition--2nd place (or "runner-up")


Hope this gives you some ideas!

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