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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let's talk about perfection

The pressure to live up to perfection can get anyone down

There was a point yesterday afternoon when my fingers hovered over the keyboard and I found myself thinking "I don't know this kid at all." I had just finished reading an application and was trying to write an enthusiastic opening to my notes, but nothing was coming. It didn't really make sense. The curriculum was excellent, the grades were great, the test scores were solid, the applicant was involved, the counselor's recommendation was positive, and the essays were meticulously edited. Many people would say the application was flawless.

I had the perfect application in front of me, but I had trouble getting excited about it. It was an application that epitomized an idea I had a few years ago:





Does the student who achieves perfection (whatever that is) get accepted to lots of schools? Sure. But at UVa, we'll be admitting over 6,000 students to bring in a class of about 3,170 students. If we only admit perfection, we'll have a pretty small class. Yes, you need a strong profile to be admitted, but we don't have a picture of the perfect student in our heads as we read your files.

My advice: don't try to be the perfect applicant. Try to be the most perfect version of you. You might wind up giving us a lot to write about when we take our notes.

Perfection is nice, but so is personality