Talk but Show Evidence
The best way to present yourself on your college application is to show evidence that you are who you say you are. Most students try to present themselves as candidates who should be given admission, and they write essays about their love for education, their passion for the academic programs they want to get into, etcetera.
However, not every student is able to present evidence of that love and passion for education and what they say they want to study in college. You may have heard me say several times on different episodes that if you claim to be passionate about something, be sure you present ample evidence of that passion on your application.
What does than mean? Let me give you a great example:
A Young Jonathan Dear Did It Perfectly
On Episode 60 , Dr. Jonathan Dear shared with us something he did while in high school. He went to his local veterinary clinic and asked for the opportunity to do volunteer hours there. Although he does not remember whether he went on his own, or with his parents, the fact is that he took the initiative to go and ask.
Looking for volunteering opportunities is one of the things I have suggested high school students should you. The worse that could happen is they say no. But, chances are they will say yes.
In Dr. Dear’s case they welcomed him as a volunteer, and although his initial duties could be classified as sweeping the clinic and cleaning general areas, as time went by his responsibilities became more robust and, eventually, that volunteer opportunity became an actual job that lasted a few years.
He Created Perfect Alignment
Young Jonathan Dear was able to align what he said with what he did. As most students do, I am sure he wrote about his passion and love for veterinary medicine. However, unlike what most students do, he was able to provide evidence of his passion and love for that field of study, through his volunteering and work at the clinic.
That is exactly what colleges and universities want to see in their applicants. It is not all about grades, GPA, and SAT scores. It is also about who the applicant is as a person. In the case of Jonathan Dear, who he was became very evident as those college admission officers read his application and other materials that were part of it.
He was a dedicated student, who was committed to do very well academically, and who truly had a passion for veterinary medicine. They were able to see that this was true in such a way, that he took it upon himself to become part of a veterinary clinic, and gave himself to it so much that he was asked to become part of the clinic staff as an employee. Again, he did all of this as a high school student.
Can you see how what he said about himself on his application lines up with what he actually did while in high school?
And Now, You…
That is exactly what you should aim for. Think about the moment when you will be turning in your college application. Imagine an application packet that includes an essay that says a lot about what you are passionate about, what you want to study in college, and who you aim to become. Imagine also that you will be able to include a record of activities that prove that what you said is indeed, real.
What activities will help you prove that? That is for you to decide. Look for those opportunities to volunteer, or other activities, and begin to act on them now. You do not need to volunteer in a clinic, unless that helps you align “your” story.
Could it be joining a cool organization that already exists and starting a chapter of that organization in your high school? (See Episode 52). Could it be creating a great podcast where you could explore your passion for the subject you claim to be passionate about?
Whatever your answer is to that question, be sure it is what “you” want to do, and be sure it helps you align who you say you are in your application with what you actually did in high school.
Make it happen!