Room for the nice kid

I recall a B/C Collegewise student several years ago who in response to an essay prompt that asked him to describe his favorite activity wrote about the weekly poker nights he hosted at his house. What made the activity—and the essay—so great was not the poker, but the makeup of the group.

As he described it, the Friday poker nights were made up of kids who otherwise never intersected in the high school social circles. I still remember my favorite paragraph:

“Everyone is welcome at Poker Night. The only thing we shun are the roles we play at school. Jocks, band geeks, lefty vegans, brainiacs, the weird kid who wears shorts in the middle of winter, they join us. If you like cards and you have ten bucks, take a seat and we’ll deal you in. That’s why I want to spend some Friday nights in college playing cards in the dorm. I want to pull up a seat next to people I wouldn’t normally be sitting next to.”

What a wonderful sentiment. And what a great picture to paint in the minds of the admissions committee—the kid who will bring others together around the card table.

He was admitted to and later attended a school that was a reach for him at the time—UC Riverside.

Don’t assume that traditionally impressive activities are the only way to get colleges to appreciate you. There’s room for the nice kid who brings people together, too, even if he does so at poker night.