We’re told colleges want the dedicated student that does well education-wise, does a lot of stuff, and takes the initiative. But every now and then we hear about a student who was Valedictorian, president of student council, creator of their own tutor business who got turned down by all three colleges that they wanted to get into. Also, we’re told you can’t get into Princeton if you go into Harvard or the vice versa so there’s no chance we’ll have an option. But then, a story comes on where a student makes it into all the ivy league colleges. So, we ask the question, what is it that colleges want in their students? We’ll discuss what they want their environment to be like, what that means as a student, and how to be all-college material.
How do colleges want to be viewed?
Most colleges have a specific way they want to be viewed. Some want to be viewed as the cradles of new sciences, keeping students on top of everything new and advancing our world. Other colleges want to be viewed as places that take on the challenge of turning each individual person into a shining star, the best they can be. Other colleges want to be viewed of as giving a classical education that gives their students that biting edge against the competition.
It’s important to see how colleges want to be viewed by doing a lot of research. Read about colleges from students who go there, read the college’s website, learn about their history and do your homework. If you can get a good sense of how the college wants to be viewed, you will have the secret to success.
Be a happening person
The most important thing is that you think you are a happening person. Even if you are doing twenty different things, you may not think you are happening and maybe even a bit boring and cookie-cutter even in spite of your well-roundedness. Your self-satisfaction gives you a drive that colleges crave. They want passionate students who can zero in on what they want and go for it. Every college wants that, but that’s not all that they want.
So what kind of person do they want? Here’s a basic 6 traits they look for.
Passionate: Colleges want people that are passionate about something. Something they couldn’t possibly get enough of. Physics, graphic design, even cheese. What are you passionate about? What could you devote your life on? Colleges look to see if you are passionate about anything. If you don’t come across as a passionate person, they’ll probably be a lot, lot harder on your admission. That’s why it’s important to explore now, instead of then. If you’re thinking, “I’ll find my passion in college”, don’t have hyped expectations. Instead, do a lot of exploring. Be open to anything even if it seems “geeky” “crazy” or “strange”. It doesn’t matter-you may love it. I believe everybody has something they can love. If somebody has been suffocating your passion for something, don’t let them destroy it. You have every right to be passionate about whatever you are passionate about, as long as it fits into your principles. If it feels wrong to you, don’t force anything. Only you know.
Creative: Universities and colleges are always looking for creative personalities. Some people may be artistic, but that seems to get people thinking only along the lines of art. People can be creative in other aspects. New ideas in the fields of math, science, literature, English, and society are creative too. Think in a different way, outside the box, etc. That’s what colleges look for. The easiest way is to find an art form, or self-expression of some kind. When I say art form, I don’t mean just paint, clay, or graphics. Poetry, photography, dancing, acting, writing and music are all forms of art. Everybody has a way of expressing themselves in the right hemisphere of their brain. Max Planck and Albert Einstein, great physicists, were also very musical. Creativity is anything you make up with your own mind. It’s what colleges are always on the prowl for.
Involved: Anybody who was ever famous were either one of the rare people chosen by luck, or somebody who put himself out there. Most of us can’t be on being chosen by luck, so we have to put ourselves out there. Colleges look to see if your wiling to put yourself out there and be seen by the public’s eye. That’s how people are successful-they are willing to be seen. The budding of this ability is seen when teenagers get involved, courageous, and independent. Sure, this means the basic volunteering. But how about creating solutions to problems you see? Getting passionate about something and doing something about it? You see problems and things you’d like to fix. The easiest way is just to listen to what you complain about. And then fix it!
Dedicated: Colleges look for perseverance. People who don’t give up. After all, they don’t want their students to just give up themselves. The best way to show you are dedicated is to do well in school. Any long-term commitment in which you succeed is a show of commitment. Perhaps doing amazingly well in piano, or scoring tons of points for your basketball team. Anything that you don’t give up on and stick through reflects well and you and your college application process.
Directed: Ah, the quality that gets a lot of college applicants. No, it’s not enough to be dedicated, involved, creative, and passionate. You also have to be directed. You need to know where you want to go and what you want to do, or at least have optimum clarity on your life in general. Colleges don’t expect you to know exactly what you are doing, in fact that’s a bit of a turn off, but they want to know what you would like to do and why, why, why. Did I mention why? They want the golden mean between the prepackaged personality who seems to already know every detail of their life and the wandering dreamer who has absolutely no idea, but hey! They’re alive! They want somebody who knows themselves and where they want to go and can prove they are strong on a few paths. They want proof that you are into what every you are into, so don’t think you can fake it.
Unique: Mainly a college wants someone whose all of these but also unique. What makes you different from the person next to you? How about the majority of people? And is it enough to really pick you out? The amount of uniqueness you have will be equivalent to your college’s level. If you want to go to Harvard, you’d best be unique.
Be industrious, Benjamin Franklin advises. It’s true. Use every moment you can towards that one goal that is so important to you. Do everything you want to while you can. Be who you want to be. Your satisfaction with yourself is the most important component to getting into college. If your not satisfied with yourself, don’t expect them to be satisfied with you.