Discovering Gold in College Admissions

“The Road to College is a Journey of Self-Discovery*”

Happy November 1st! If you are the parent of a senior that is submitting early applications with an 11/1 deadline, I am sure you have been busy! 

The quote above came to mind as I was working with a last minute senior that reached out to me last week for some help with their writing. They had a prompt that asked them to describe a community that they are a part of and their place within that community. 

As they considered this question, they had a meaningful revelation; their family had relocated during high school and they changed schools. Their athletic pursuits had allowed them to form a new community almost immediately. They realized that their athletics, which in this case is really a lifetime sport, will always allow them to connect with others and they took great comfort in this discovery as they considered the prompt. 

The other community they considered writing about was their job at a busy Jersey Shore restaurant with “ocean views and overpriced cocktails”. They wanted to talk about their place in the community  of dishwashers, chefs, hostesses, managers, waitstaff, bussers and runners. It is a cross-section of backgrounds, ages, education levels and race. But they all work together in a tightly choreographed routine to facilitate smooth restaurant operations.

So what did I advise? They should write about the restaurant community. It will show the college an entirely fresh context; their ability to get along with a diverse group of people and work together. This is a quality that colleges want to bring to their campuses. I have no doubt the athletic piece could have been quite good, but the schools aren’t going to learn as much about the applicant and they can already see the student’s deep involvement with their sport in other parts of the Common App.

I shared the quote about the journey to college as one of self-discovery with the student. The revelation that they had about their sport is their own treasure, a gem that they can take out into the world.

I hope your student has made important self-discoveries in this process and has their own nugget of gold to take with them. And I hope they have great success with their decisions in the coming months!

*I take no credit for this quote, I read it somewhere a long time ago.

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