Reminder: It’s Okay To Do Less

Reminder: It’s Okay To Do Less

We are entering the time of year when we re-post old (sometimes very old) posts. This subject seems relevant as we approach summer (and in the midst of COVID, when doing more can be tough anyway).

Colleges look for students with something unique, a specific talent, skill, or interest to add to their next class. Students who drill down on an interest or two early on in high school will be better positioned to tell a clear, focused story in their applications. By doing so, they hand the reader of their file exactly what they are looking for—they make it easy to see the value you will add on campus.

This might mean doing a lot of exploration early in high school and this is okay. However, don’t be afraid to find something you like, drill down on it, and not do too much else extracurricularly. You don’t want a resume that reads like a laundry list anyway.

Here’s what a few top colleges have to say on the subject via Niche:

  • “You [should] demonstrate a deep commitment to and genuine appreciation for what you spend your time doing. The joy you take in the pursuits that really matter to you – rather than a resume padded with a long list of activities – will strengthen your candidacy.” –Yale’s advice on Activities
  • “When we evaluate an applicant’s activity list, we’re not looking for a specific number of involvements or even specific types.  We are much more interested in seeing an applicant follow their passions and show dedication over time to a few specific involvements rather than spreading themselves too thin.” –USC Admissions Blog
  • “We are looking for students who will contribute their talents, interests, perspectives, and distinct voices to our community… We are more interested in your focus on a few activities over time (such as work, care for parents and siblings, service, or athletics), rather than membership in a long list of clubs—although we understand that some students can balance an assortment of activities.” –Swarthmore College, “What We Look for in a Swattie”
  • “You’re joining a team. And because we’re recruiting a team of people who will work together, we want a variety of strengths and talents that, together, will form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. So, not every talented student needs to be talented in the same way.” – UNC-Chapel Hill, “Who We Want”

The question I ask a lot when thinking about activities: How much can you meaningfully contribute to more than a few activities? Narrowing down your interests and corresponding activities can provide the time and space needed to engage more meaningfully and at a higher level in the one or two things you love the most. It’s a bonus if these activities relate to your potential college major, or support it in some way!

Remember, colleges seek to build a well-rounded class comprised of students with unique talents and skills, not a class full of generalists.

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3rd Annual New York Times Podcast Contest

3rd Annual New York Times Podcast Contest

Awesome opportunity via the NYT/The Learning Network:

“We are running our Third Annual Podcast Contest right now for middle and high school students until May 19. To enter, students should submit a five-minute podcast on any subject they want, including sports, music, politics and literature. They can work individually or as a team, and they can create their podcasts from home.

If you’re not sure how to get started with podcasting, we just published two new resources that can help: our Podcasting Unit and our Podcasting Mentor Text. Each provides a step-by-step guide for creating an original podcast, and we offer 23 winning student podcasts as models.

Sign up for our free webinar on April 29 to help you learn more about our podcast contest and podcasting in general. After all, podcasting is a great way for students to strengthen their writing, research and digital media skills.”

 

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Free Digital Access to The New York Times Until July 6

Free Digital Access to The New York Times Until July 6

Starting this week, all high school students and teachers in the United States can get free digital access to The New York Times until July 6. If you want to sign up here’s how.

And…20 ways the paper can keep you entertained and informed. Hint: you can use it to explore your academic interests!

 

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Why Did Yale Choose You

Why Did Yale Choose You

Although I did smirk reading the subtitle Embracing Average, I really enjoyed Alexandra Gers’ reflection in the Yale News on her application file and why Yale chose her. Anyway, what stood out to me was this:

When I flipped the page, it was kind of like being slapped in the face. “She didn’t strike me as thoughtful, introspective or determined.” Repeatedly. “I couldn’t figure out what she was passionate about.”

For high school students targeting (or preparing to target) selective colleges and universities, take note:

  • Thoughtful
  • Introspective
  • Determined
  • A clearly defined passion (I don’t love the word passion so let’s call this “interest”)

 

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Call for Applications: Experimental Study Program for Teens

Call for Applications: Experimental Study Program for Teens

Cool program alert!

Experimental Study Program
Spring 2020 Season
February 26–April 29
Applications due February 9

This spring, the New Museum offers its free semester-long program for young people aged fifteen to nineteen. Participants will meet from 4 to 6 p.m. every Wednesday from February 26 to April 29 (excluding April 15). Now in its fourteenth season, this program provides youth the chance to learn about contemporary art and engage in intimate, critical discussions about culture.

Through a series of workshops, young people will have the opportunity to collaborate meaningfully with peers and guest artists. This season, the Experimental Study Program (ESP) will explore contemporary portraiture and figuration. The program will take as its starting point the work of Jordan Casteel, whose exhibition “Within Reach” includes large-scale paintings of people she encounters in various settings, including individuals from her neighborhood of Harlem and, more recently, her students at Rutgers University-Newark. Participants will meet Casteel and discuss ideas and approaches to portraiture with her. Throughout the remainder of the season, we will consider the variety of ways that she and other artists use the figure—from expressive and intimate to wildly satirical, abstract, and surreal depictions of the human form—experiment with their own, and reflect on how these choices intersect with identity, representation, social histories, and imaginations.

The Museum seeks applications from people between ages fifteen and nineteen who are curious about contemporary art and enthusiastic about connecting with their peers.

The Experimental Study Program is free.How to Apply:

  • Click here to apply
  • Fill out the application and respond to the prompts
  • Include the contact information of a teacher, counselor, or supervisor who can provide a reference
  • Submit the completed application by February 9, 2020

 

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Weekend Workshops for High School Students

Weekend Workshops for High School Students

The NYU School of Professional Studies High School Academy offers Weekend Workshops that provide high school students with programs of study that allow them to explore their professional options and enhance their college portfolio. Although I do not usually recommend formal pre-college type programs, I do think this is a great way for underclassmen to explore areas of academic interest. The deadline to apply is January 22, and classes start on February 8. The cost is $450 for 4 sessions. Read more here.

We’ve also got new programs launching in 2020!  To stay up-to-date on program announcements, please subscribe.

The first is a purpose project collaboration with Strategy Girl. A purpose project is a project that draws on your interests and talents—the things you love, that bring you joy, that excite you academically—that you feel would fill a need in your school, community, or the world. Participants will:

  • Conceptualize a Purpose project—a project that students design and implement on their own, which taps into the students’ talents—the things they love, that bring them joy, that they want to study in college, or how they feel they could best help their school, community, or the world. They’re connected to your deeper meaning and purpose and they have tangible outcomes. Anyone can do them. What is most important is inspiration, commitment, and support!
  • Learn about the importance of collaboration over competition, seeking out support from others, and understanding that leadership is not a path walked alone. 
  • Gain insights on goal-setting, strategy, learning from hurdles and setbacks, and how to stay sane in today’s highly competitive high school scene (including the craziness around college admissions!).
  • Draft a resume/activity sheet and learn about how their work in this program might be utilized when applying to college.

Past projects include writing a book, completing a literature review or book challenge, creating a trailer for a documentary, prototyping an app, spearheading an innovative volunteer event, creating a club at school, fundraising for an organization of your choice in a creative way (selling artwork, an Etsy shop, etc), and hosting a yearly beach clean-up. 

This program meets online once weekly for 1.5 hours, for 5 weeks, with the option to meet other local participants in-person in the NYC-area. The deadline to apply is January 31, and classes start on February 15. The cost is $750, and scholarships are available.

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What Colleges Want

The following was taken directly from the JHU website, but it’s so applicable to any selective college/university, that I wanted to share it:

Academic Character 

How do you demonstrate your academic passions? What is important to you? To get a good idea of where your academic spirit lies, we’ll look at your transcripts and testing, but also your teacher and counselor recommendations.

Impact and Initiative

Our undergraduates contribute to our campus and our community. We urge students to think about how they can make a difference through service, leadership, and innovation. The admissions committee looks closely at applicants’ extracurricular activities and recommendations to assess commitments outside the classroom.

Personal Contributions

How do you engage with your community—academically, personally, and socially? What personal qualities do you possess that would make you a good fit for our campus? We’re looking for students who are eager to follow their interests at the college level and are enthusiastic about joining the campus community.

So what does all of this boil down to? Colleges seek students who are actively engaged participants in life! Everyone has time to:

  • Pursue their academic/intellectual interests outside of classes
  • Make an impact by meaningfully engaging in and giving back to their community

You don’t need that much time to make it happen. Ask us how!

 

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward: The Short List

Photo by Matese Fields on Unsplash

I am going to keep this one short and sweet and welcome anyone who wants more info or wants to understand “how” to reach out to me directly.

Here’s how you put your best foot forward in college admissions:

-Grades that meet or exceed the standards of the schools to which you are applying

-Test scores that meet or exceed the standards of the schools to which you are applying (if the school’s you are applying to require them)

-Authentic and long-term community engagement

-Values that match the school’s

When one of these factors does not meet the standards of the school to which you are applying, your likelihood of admission decreases.

I hope to hear from you all!

 

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Young Women in Business: GenHERation Events

Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

GenHERation Invitationals 

You are invited to find your dream job! GenHERation Invitationals are half-day career immersion programs that allow high school and college women to work alongside female executives at the most innovative companies in America. These events are your direct line to recruiters looking to hire talented young women for internships and full-time positions. Companies outline the applicant profile for available positions and we invite GenHERation members to apply in order to demonstrate their qualifications in person. Before each event, we share the candidates’ resumes with the companies and after the event we provide actionable next steps to continue the application process.

We will be announcing new invitationals every month and you can currently sign up for the following events:

  • GSK: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 (Philadelphia, PA)
  • AT&T: Friday, September 6, 2019 (Dallas, TX)
  • Capital One: Friday, November 1, 2019 (Richmond, VA)

If you are selected to attend an Invitational, your ticket cost is covered by the host company.

Apply today HERE!

GenHERation Discovery Days 2019

Join us for our largest summer tour yet! GenHERation Discovery Days 2019 are immersive day trips that provide high school and college women with the opportunity to visit the most innovative companies in America. Participants will travel throughout a selected city by bus, which serves as an educational incubator complete with guided discussions by industry mentors. More than 50 companies are participating, including Ernst & Young, Capital One, Facebook, Netflix, Google, National Geographic, GSK, NFP, DLL, Expedia, Hartford Funds, Adobe, Nordstrom, Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, Lucasfilm, NASA, IBM, Pizza Hut, Fossil, Pixar, CBS, Viacom, AllSaints, Bloomingdale’s, Urban Outfitters, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Schedule

  • 6/24: Dallas (SOLD OUT!)
  • 6/26: Austin
  • 7/8-7/9: Seattle (1 SEAT LEFT!)
  • 7/10-7/11: Los Angeles
  • 7/15-7/16: San Francisco
  • 7/22-7/23: Charlotte
  • 7/24-7/25: Washington, D.C.
  • 7/31: New York City
  • 8/1: Chicago
  • 8/6: Philadelphia

Tickets are selling out fast! Reserve your seat HERE!

Watch us on ABC San FranciscoNBC Los Angeles, and NBC Seattle to learn more about GenHERation Discovery Days!

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College Applications Benefit From Focus

Until colleges start honestly looking for students who aren’t hyper-focused, I find myself having to make clear that students who drill down on their interests early on in high school will be better positioned to tell a clear, focused story in their college applications, and might have an advantage. Being well-rounded is fantastic, but colleges are looking for students with something unique, a specific talent, skill, goal, or interest to add to value to their next class. With a more focused application, you hand the reader of your file precisely what they are looking for—you make it easy to see your value add, and sadly, fit into one of the many boxes they try to place applicants in.

There are some other arguments toward being more narrow, focused. You may love all five (or more honestly, ten…) clubs you are in and the three sports you play, but how much can you meaningfully contribute to all of these activities? Chances are not that much, and by spreading yourself so thin, you’re not making much of an impact in any single one of them.

If you want to have a bigger impact, while at the same time create a profile that might be more appealing to admissions officers, try to narrow down your interests and corresponding activities by the end of 10th grade, and think about how you can engage more meaningfully and at a higher level in the one or two things you love the most. It’s a bonus if these activities relate to your potential college major, or support it in some way, as well as demonstrate a commitment to serving someone other than yourself. If you are not sure what that means or how that translates in a college app, email us.

Drilling down on your interests to develop a clear story or narrative for your college apps will go a long way in the admissions process, and is one of the focus areas of our college counseling work with high school students.

Remember, colleges seek to build a well-rounded class comprised of students with unique talents and skills, not a class full of unfocused students or generalists. If this changes, we will definitely be posting about it here!

 

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