Welcome! Login | Register

The Scoop: Smith Blasts Paiva-Weed on False Allegations, Elorza Questions Cianci’s Apology, and More—Welcome back to The Scoop, the 4 p.m.…

FM Global Pledges $1 million to URI’s Proposed Engineering Facility—FM Global has pledged $1 million to support…

Brian Bishop: A Turning Point in RI: Will Voters Approve a Constitutional Convention?—It is OSTPA’s contention that the decision to…

Mark McKenney: Providence Community Library is Too Important To Underfund—This summer, Providence Community Library celebrated its fifth…

RI’s Potenza Named Italian Master Chef—Local Chef Walter Potenza was recently named one…

Providence Symposium to Present “Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience”—The Providence Preservation Society’s yearlong speaker series will…

7 Reasons To Be Excited About The Celtics Season—Celtics season tips off tonight

Elorza Unveils Economic Plan—Democratic candidate for Mayor Jorge Elorza has unveiled…

URI Rams Men’s Soccer Back in National Rankings—Rhody Rams Mens Soccer back in National Rankings

It’s All About Education: What if College Isn’t Necessary—What if College Isn't Necessary?


College Admissions: The 3 Things College Really Want

Monday, November 07, 2011


Top-shelf leadership gigs: Model UN gets noticed on applications

Despite the economy, the nation’s top colleges aren’t getting any easier to get into. Every year, parents ask me the same question “What do the most competitive colleges want?” Clearly, straight A’s in honors and AP courses and 700s on your SATs aren’t enough anymore. Often, it’s not easy to understand why one student is accepted to Brown, Harvard, Georgetown or Duke, and another with a similar profile is rejected. However, there are some elusive factors that often make the difference.

One: Passion

Colleges love students who have a consistent and demonstrated passion for something (outside of sports and their friends). Unlike the 70’s when colleges wanted well-rounded students, today the most elite colleges want students with depth and expertise in a particular area. Then, these students of varied deep interests will make up a well-rounded student body. A few years ago, I had a student who loved engineering. At five, he began taking apart his mother’s radios and televisions. At 16, he computerized his car to a level that exceeded what any major car manufacturer was offering. He even took on the daunting task of redesigning his high school’s antiquated website. In the summer, he worked in an IT department at a local company and ran a business fixing neighbors’ PCs. Another student was an award winning dancer. She traveled to competitions in Italy and France, and in her spare time she taught younger children with Down Syndrome to dance. She choreographed her school theatre productions, and in the summer she started a hip-hop program for the Boys and Girls Club. These students exhibited the type of passion that colleges love.

Two: Leadership

Being class president or the head of student government is a great accomplishment in the eyes of a college. Roles in which your peers elect you, show that you are a respected and trusted member of your school community. The way that you get the highest extra-curricular rating during the admissions process is to have several leadership positions. These might include being president of the Drama Society, French Club, Environmental Club, Debate Team, Mock Trial, Math Team, or any other organized group at school. Captain of a sports team is also a feather in your cap. Positions outside of school also count, whether you are the head tutor at your local synagogue or the founder of your own community service group. For students who must work and can’t participate in many extra-curricular activities, an upward progression of responsibility at an after school job can also be very impressive.

Three: Awards and recognition

This is perhaps the most elusive category. Depending on your school policy, there may not be very many awards or honors to glean. Book awards from colleges like Princeton or Yale catch an admission officer’s eye. Being a National Merit Finalist is considered very elite. Organizations like Model UN, Future Business Leaders of America and the National Forensic Society hold regional and national competitions where winners emerge. Science fairs are famous for recognizing promising research and discoveries. Colleges also love students who pursue opportunities to get their history, English or science papers published in national magazines like the Concord Review, The Claremont Review or The Empiricist. If your high school doesn’t have opportunities for you to gain recognition, you need only search the Internet for a venue that matches your talents and interests.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, individual counseling for college-bound students. http://www.collegeadvisorsonline.com, www.facebook.com/collegeadvisors
For more college coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.

Related Articles


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.