Monday, July 03, 2017

It's Not Just About Leadership

Many high school students are pressured to show leadership on their activity sheets if they plan on applying to college. If you happen to be the founder or a club or were elected president or captain of something, that's a wonderful honor that should be shared on your Common App. However, please know that those who don't hold leadership positions aren't at a disadvantage in this process.

There are so many qualities of which we take note when we read an application. Leadership is certainly one of them, but we also acknowledge students who show love of learning or who exhibit academic industry. There are some who have experienced academic setbacks, whose stories of improvement impress us. Maybe a student has experienced some personal adversity or they have an interesting life story that brings an unique perspective to the table. There are students who exhibit character or an ability to build coalitions in the classroom or otherwise that are great assets to the classroom. We all benefit from diversity of thoughts, talents, and backgrounds. Every application tells a story and that story doesn't have to be about leadership.

Keep in mind that just because you can check a leadership box doesn't mean other parts of your application don't have to be strong. No one gets admitted to college just because of a personal quality. Academics will always be our first stop when we're reading an application, but we also want to see that a student will contribute something to our community and evidence of that is often found in recommendation letters, essays, and activities.

As always, I'm happy to answer questions in the comments.

Jack assesses love of animals in his favorite applicants.