Good grades. High test scores. A rocket arm that can throw a football to a receiver who’s running a fly pattern in a different zip code. All of those things are appealing to colleges. But there are some qualities colleges would like you to have that don’t necessarily involve superior intelligence) or the ability to pick up the blitz). Here are a few of them.
1. Be nice to the kids other students aren’t nice to.
Once they get out of high school, most students realize that
those kids who made fun of the socially less fortunate were actually gigantic
losers themselves. So be nice. Say “hi” to the kid nobody else says “hi”
to. Don’t join in when everyone else starts
to make fun of the easy target. Your
teachers and counselors will notice, the kid you’re nice to will appreciate it,
and you’ll be in line for karma points later in life.
2. Be a learner, not a
grade grubber A learner goes in after class to talk to his teacher about the
civil war because he just wants to know more about the most famous battles. A grade grubber goes in after
class whine that an 88% should really be bumped up to an A-. We’re not suggesting that you shouldn’t aim
for high grades; they are the measure of your performance as a student. But your interest in learning while you’re
earning those grades is something teachers—and colleges—will appreciate.
3. Be someone who
cheerfully pitches in.
Everyone likes the kid who volunteers to run the food drive
for the French club even though he doesn’t technically hold an office. Those people who just like to help out are always
welcome in clubs, organizations, and colleges. You don’t have to be the team captain or the editor or the president to
make an impact. So find ways to pitch in and help out. You’ll be recognized as someone
who makes a difference.
4. Be above the college
Getting into college is a lot like dating—confidence is more attractive than sheer desperation. The kid who laments
that his life will be over if Stanford doesn’t accept him isn’t really showing as
much confidence (and perspective) as the student who believes she will be
successful no matter where she goes, who’s excited about the opportunity to go
to college at all, who knows that she’s going to learn and have fun at any
college lucky enough to get her. You’ll
take a lot more control over the college process if you can be that quietly
5. Be yourself.
College is a place where individuality is celebrated. They don’t want everyone to look and act the
same. So don’t spend your high school
years trying to conform to something you think colleges want you to be. If you do the work and spend the time it
takes to find the right colleges, you’ll eventually be in a place where you
feel happy and comfortable. So be
yourself, be proud of who you are, and most importantly, be nice.