The formula works

There’s no magic formula for getting into college. But here’s a simple formula to measure the impact of how you’re spending your time:

What you help other people accomplish > What you accomplish

Individual accomplishments are great. Be proud of them and let that pride show when you list them on your college applications. And you shouldn’t spend all your time supporting everyone around you to the point that you sacrifice your own work or progress.

But when you can genuinely point to ways that you made your class, team, club, school, organization, part-time job, etc. better for the other people involved, when your contributions are so good that everyone else benefits, too, your impact—and your own fulfillment—increase exponentially.

And best of all, these contributions don’t have to involve more hours, more stress, or more time. They just involve you making the decision to do more than just show up, to instead bring the kind of attitude, energy, and care that changes the game for everyone.

Try it at your next class, practice, rehearsal, club meeting, or shift. Behave like it’s the last time you’re ever going to do it, and that however you behave this last time is how people will remember you forever. I’ll bet you bring a different you when you approach it that way.

The formula works if you apply it.