Impressive Candidate vs. Admitted Student | InLikeMe
So, who gets in to the most selective colleges and universities? For the most part, admitted students fall into one or more of these three categories:
(1) students who can bring something “special” that the school desires;
(2) those with exceptional promise; and
(3) academically-qualified legacy applicants.
Focus on quality over quantity. We look for the opportunity to pursue (with gusto) one or two interesting projects, activities, and/or areas of research where the student can showcase some combination of leadership, character, determination, intellectual curiosity, talent, heartfelt interest, creativity, problem-solving and/or communication skills, maturity and ability. The “hook” should be genuine and be a good fit with the student’s interests and abilities. A hook can also be developed to either offset an area of perceived weakness or to create positive differentiation.
As an example, one of my clients was dismayed by the lack of intercultural harmony at her public high school. She endeavored to improve the situation by bringing together students to share her love for gardening. She founded a community garden project and encouraged diverse participation. She described her experiences (positive and negative) in various college application essays and was thrilled to gain admission to a number of the most selective colleges and universities.