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Activities That DO Impress Colleges!!! OWN the College Admissions Process



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hey guys it's Brooke was super tutor TV

are you wondering what activities should

I do to impress colleges or do the

activities that I happen to do help make

me a better candidate for college

admissions before we get into things I

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so what are some activities that

colleges do care about well first of all

what I'm going to say is that there's no

one activity that colleges think is

better than any other activity colleges

are looking more at the endgame result

of what your activities produce more

than they are the specific area of

interest that your particular activity

covers it's not as if they like athletes

more than they like musicians in fact

colleges want a diverse student body

they want students who do lots of

different activities the second thing

that I'm going to say is when I make

this video I can't speak for every

College in the United States first of

all that's just impossible but what I'll

also say is for the most part I'm

focusing on the kind of schools that are

very competitive

that means they typically have less than

a 25% admin rate and they typically are

ranked in the top 50 schools in the

United States on some sort of nationally

recognized list that's what I'm dealing

with for the most part so with my

caveats aside I'm going to talk through

four things that colleges are looking

for in activities that make you a

standout candidate and the first idea

that I'm going to talk about is the idea

of leadership leadership can take

multiple forms leadership could be a

specific role that you take within an

activity that you're involved in such as

being president of the student council

right leadership can also be the idea of

taking initiative and being a little bit

entrepreneurial and making something

happen and in terms of how colleges look

at leadership like what leadership

more important than other leadership you

know it really is gonna come down to

individual colleges but the bottom line

that I can tell you guys is that if

you're taking initiative meaning you're

coming up with ideas and you're trying

to have an impact on the world around

you that's what leadership is I think

there's a misconception that leadership

is simply getting voted by your peers

into a quote position of leadership

leadership is an attribute that evidence

is itself and the way that you act and

in the results that you produce so I

encourage all of you to look for

opportunities for leadership and the

activities that you have and that could

be everything from being captain of the

baseball team to actually creating some

sort of brand new initiative or project

or something that really proves that you

are going to be making a difference in

the world okay all right let's get on to

my second factor that I think colleges

are looking for and that factor is

excellence

so what could that look like well that

could look like maybe you play the

violin and you're a really rockstar

violinist and maybe you play your violin

in concerts at the local college because

you're that good maybe you are in your

youth symphony it could also be just

that you're really good at whatever you

do so that could mean that you're really

good at rhythmic gymnastics or fencing

now what I'm going to say with

excellence is you definitely can't read

the trodden path with excellence and be

very good at something that is

traditional right you could be really

good at a sport it can be really good at

music you can be really good at these

sort of traditional extracurricular

activities that most high schools and

United States offer if you rides at the

top at your school and then you rise in

the top in your district and you rise

the top in your state right you'd be the

best debater in the state whatever it is

that's one path to being excellent but

there's kind of a back door to being

excellent and that's the other thing I

don't want to talk about because I know

some of you are like I'm never gonna be

the best tennis player my state like

that's just never gonna happen

so how the heck do I show excellence

well another kind of back door to

excellence is if you can do something

that's a little bit more original and

you could be really good at that kind of

rate

original thing sometimes that's a path

to getting into the excellence door at a

top-10 school where this kind of thing

actually matters a lot and sneaking in

even though you know you wouldn't ever

be excellent enough if you did something

that thousands of people are doing right

like being the best violin it's like

that's really hard but being the best

sitar player that might be a possibility

but whatever it is that you do if you do

it with excellence and you can find a

way to stand out that really stands out

to colleges all right let's move on to

the next factor the next factor is

commitment colleges care about

activities that you have committed

yourself to and that means that you

spend a good amount of time doing them

this goes without saying if you're

trying to be excellent at something a

lot of the time to be excellent at

something you have to put a good amount

of time into it right that's not to say

that you can't do something senior year

only and it won't be impressive but what

I would say is that if you've put a lot

of time and effort into some passion or

into some activity over the years that's

going to show and it's going to speak to

colleges so just keep that in mind if

you have a narrative that's extended

over the course of years that's really

important I know for my international

students this can sometimes be very

difficult

I know I've worked with students in Asia

before and they have so much expected of

them in terms of academics that they

don't have time for activities and so

it's really hard for them to show this

kind of commitment factor if you're in

that boat my best advice is to just find

all the time that you can and to try to

show that commitment however you can

maybe it's that you amp up the hours

that you spend during the summer or

maybe it means that you try to take on

some activities that are more

independent in some way maybe that means

you're doing a research project or maybe

that means you're writing articles or

creating art that you're submitting to

competitions or something like that but

whatever it is make sure that you're

committed and that you are spending

enough time on something to show

colleges that you know how to dedicate

yourself to an idea so the fourth thing

that I'm going to talk about is

something what I call a WOW factor

and how do you get a WOW factor well you

get a WOW factor by doing something that

makes people go whoa

or Wow and what activities do that well

part of the the prerequisite for being a

WoW activity often has to do with the

idea of it being something that not

every high school student is doing so to

get a WOW factor you might need to think

outside the box a little bit there's the

obvious while factors and that's that

you've qualified for the top levels of

whatever high school competitions exist

and that's like the traditional route

and that traditional route it goes for

every sport it goes for musical

instruments it goes for all of that kind

of stuff but I also think you can come

up with a wow factor in unconventional

ways too and that can be maybe your

activity itself is a little bit

unconventional but you rise to the top

of it I had a girl that I work with

several years ago who got an MIT and she

was creating MATLAB coding and and

basically studying epidemiology using

raw data from Twitter online and like

number crunching to try to see if she

could read trends in like influenza and

infections throughout different regions

in the United States I mean and I'm

probably watching all of this year but

my point is is like she was able to

write in her essays about this really

cool self-study project that she was

doing that kind of made my jaw drop a

little bit because I was like wow how

would you even think to do that as a

high school student to be like

undergoing independent research on like

epidemiology through data and be like

data crunching because you want to go

into statistics and data crunching like

that's really impressive and really cool

another thing that can really produce a

wow factor is anything that you pursue

that's the kind of thing that you would

usually expect only an adult to do if

you can do something that's impressive

in the same way that an adult would be

impressive if you can do something

entrepreneurial if you can do something

that affects the real world or that

interacts with the real world in a very

tangible way in a way that an impressive

adult could do that can create a wow

factor

okay I know some of you might be very

overwhelmed by this idea of trying to

find a WOW factor

but it is what it is I would say it's

very hard to end an era wow factor it

can be but that's why it's a wow factor

so my best advice is to just try to

think of the ways that you can be

creative and that you can push the

envelope and that you can do something

that a normal teenager wouldn't do if

you can do that that's really gonna

stand out to colleges especially like

your top ten schools colleges care about

this stuff for very selective admissions

and just because you don't have all this

stuff doesn't mean that you're not

awesome or you don't have something to

offer or that you won't get into a top

college I'm just saying that if you have

an activity that falls in the range of

any of these ideas that I talked about

today that could be a bonus on your

application that could actually help

push it forward or push it to the top of

the pile I'm talking about activities

that move the needle not activities that

you must have in order to get into any

top 50 school they're activities that

are going to make you stand out and rise

to the top of a pile now again if we're

talking top 10 schools these might be

necessary depending on what your

background is and depending on what the

competition looks like in any given year

but I hope you guys found this helpful

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