Too many students approach the college admissions process the same way:
They take the classes they’re supposed to take, but they don’t have a favorite subject or teacher.
They join clubs and hold leadership positions and do community service driven not by a sense of joy or commitment, but by the notion that it’s what colleges want.
Rather than find the colleges that fit, they apply only to famous schools and resolve to go to the “best” one they get into.
They’re good kids who’ve worked hard. But because they don’t stand for anything, they don’t stand out. They look exactly the same on paper as countless other applicants who executed, checked the right boxes, and now expect to be rewarded with an admission to a highly selective college. They’re wandering generalities.
Instead of a wandering generality, be a meaningful specific.
The meaningful specifics took all the right classes, but love history, or reading, or math. They have a favorite class or teacher and they can tell you what they’re excited to learn in college.
The meaningful specifics don’t just list their activities. They excitedly talk about how much these involvements meant to them. And they can point to the projects they initiated, the difference they made, and the legacy they’ll leave when they’re done.
The meaningful specifics have big expectations of themselves and their future colleges. They want more than just a famous name alone. They think deeply about what they hope or expect to gain from college, thoughtfully search for the schools that fit, and then make it their mission to extract the maximum value once they’re there.
You don’t necessarily need to have your college, your major, and your future career picked out when you’re sixteen. Plenty of meaningful specifics are focused on what they’re doing today without a roadmap of what they’ll be doing many tomorrows from now.
But you, your time, and your future are valuable. You deserve more than to plod through your days doing what everybody else does, hoping that a college with a famous name will make you successful.
Instead, listen to your mind, your heart, and your gut. Learn things that interest you, spend your time doing what you love, and look for schools that will give you the tools and the environment where you can best take the next step in your life.
Meaningful specifics are what you deserve. And meaningful specifics are how you stand out.