Twins in College Admissions: Advice for Twins, Triplets

photo of women standing beside each other
Madeleine Karydes
Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine attended UC Berkeley and double-majored in English and Media Studies. She is now an integral part of the Empowerly team.

Looking for advice for twins or triplets in the college admissions process? I interviewed our superstar counselor Alix C. to learn what he had to say about twins and college applications. In this article, we mostly talk about twins (that is, two siblings born together), but much of the advice is useful for triplets or other close sibling relationships as well. From building college lists to handling essays, Alix brings stellar first-hand advice from his experiences helping twins apply, and reading twin student applications to college.

Growing up with siblings is a rich life experience. Facing challenges together, you have the opportunity to share many important milestones. Learning from one another (and a dose of healthy competition and mutual support) can absolutely push each of you to become the best version of you as can be! 

If you are a twin or triplet, you well know that closeness is amplified. Whether you know it or not, there are a few important things to know for twins applying to college. So, let’s dig in.

Approaching College with a Twin Mindset

These are the main three tips to keep in mind when you start thinking about twins in a college admissions process. 

  1. Twins need to be themselves. There’s no use forcing yourself to fit a mold “just because.” Some siblings like being together, while others crave separation. There are pros and cons to both approaches:
    • If you stick together, you do increase your chances of dual acceptance (even if one is more competitive than the other). That said, it doesn’t overcome complete ineligibility… so still try your best.
    • On the other hand, if you really need separation, that is okay too! If this is the case, just talk to each other in the process and communicate about your top schools. If you want to be extra sure, you can ask that your sibling doesn’t apply to the same ones. 
  2. Yes, twins applying together can be more appealing to admissions officers. It’s just the reality! In high school and in college, a pair or team of brains brings a unique perspective to your work. That edge works to your advantage. But obviously, don’t do this if you want to seek distance from one another. 
  3. It can be personally advantageous to seek individuality and separation if that is what you want to explore. Ultimately, this choice depends on the family and the students themselves.

Filling Out the Application

If you do end up submitting together, it will be apparent that you are related. You don’t need to do anything extra to indicate that you have a close sibling. In addition, counselors and teachers will definitely mention it in letters of recommendation. (Even if you apply to different schools, it will likely be mentioned, without the specifics.) Because of all these things, admissions officers will know.

And we’ll say it again: twins are two different people! Your scores and lists, aspirations, and achievements will be unique. If you participate in many activities together, you may look similar on paper. Still, don’t worry too much about your application sounding like a copy. Even if you have very similar experiences and activities and mindsets, you won’t sound the same. Represent yourself authentically. That’s the ultimate goal, and the thing to focus on. 

Essays

You may be wondering if it’s something worth writing about in your personal essays. Alix says yes – being a twin can make a great essay topic! 

  1. First of all, there’s this guiding principle in the college admissions landscape: emphasize your rarity. So, go ahead and write about your twin experience to set yourself apart. 
  2. Second, there are a wealth of different areas to choose from! You can write about your experiences, struggles, support, and how you complement each other. More likely than not, having a close sibling or sibling(s) will largely impact most areas of your life. 

Being a twin is biologically rare, so it’s a strong essay topic if you handle it well. As you do, it’s a good idea to look for support and second opinions to make sure it’s well-written, no matter what. 

College List

Here’s Alix’s advice: create two lists. That way, you can build one list of schools that you’d like to apply to together, and one list that you’d like to apply to on your own. (Building these two lists is a great place to ask for guidance for a counselor’s perspective and expertise.) Decision-making can come later once you have your offers and options. In other words, keep all your windows open: both my/yours windows, and our windows. 

Counseling Resources

You may want to work with the same guidance counselor because they know both of your track records. It can make communication easier, and potentially easier for your parents to follow along. However, you don’t need to work with the same college counselor. If you have very different interests and personalities, one person isn’t necessarily going to be equipped to help you both equally well. 

Sibling legacy does matter, so it’s worth discussing your journey and process as you work through the applications. For all applicants, communication is important.

Advice for Parents

  • Step back. It’s okay. Let each kid do what they want to do; you don’t need to intervene in any major way. (Yes, we give this advice to all parents, but it’s always good to be reminded!) 
  • Don’t try to hold yourself or your kids back because you don’t want to take advantage of this unique asset. College applications ask you to use all your advantages, so go ahead and do it if it makes sense for them! Think of it as a tool you can utilize to continue moving forward into healthy, open futures.
  • On the other hand, don’t force your kids to follow the same path if that’s not what they want. If they want to go to different schools and branch out, naturally, you should let them. 

That covers the main advice we want twins and triplets to know as you approach the college admissions process. Be yourself, make the most of the opportunities and advantages that are available to you, and go follow your dreams! Alix is a wonderful counselor (and great human being) that knows what it’s like to be in your shoes. Alix and the entire Empowerly community are all here to support your best possible future. 

If you’d like to work with one of our expert college admissions counselors for more one-on-one advising as you embark on your application journey, reach out today. We have experience helping twins in college admissions reach their best futures! Learn more about the Empowerly approach and book a free consultation below. We’ll learn a little more about your situation, review the scope of our unique program, and recommend how to get started. 

Questions? Let us know!