One way to stand out in college admissions is just flat-out
work more hours than the competition.
Someone else might do 100 community service hours, but you’ll do
120. Someone else might spend 20 hours
studying for the SAT, but you’ll get a tutor on retainer and work 80
hours. Someone else might sleep eight hours
a night, but you’ll sleep five and spend the remaining three adding more
activity hours to your growing list.
The problem with this strategy is that you can’t spend more
hours than everyone else. Someone else
will find a way to do more community service and test prep hours while getting
fewer hours of sleep. And at some point,
you’ll all max out, as not even Superman can work more than 24 hours a
The more effective option which will also make you happier
is to spend fewer hours, but get even more done.
What if you promised yourself that you were not going to
work past 10 p.m., no matter what the circumstances? How would that change the way you paid
attention and took notes in class? How
would it change the time you spent on Facebook or texting your friends? It would have to change if you wanted to get
the same results. But you’d be more
efficient, you’d sleep more, and you’d have more time for doing things you
actually want to do that have nothing to do with college.
My suggestion: try it
for a week and see what happens. If it
doesn’t work or you just don’t like it, go back to your old ways. But I’ll bet some of the changes stick.