Have you ever shopped for a computer? When deciding which one to purchase, what did you consider: memory, speed, graphics, price? You probably made your selection by comparing similar models side-by-side. The winner probably had everything the other model had and just a bit more. This process is similar to how some college admissions officers decide on who they admit and who they reject. For example, let’s say Student A has a grade point average of 3.9 and an SAT score of 1520, but so does Student B. So, who gets in? This is where student leadership experience can make a big difference.
To succeed in college, a student has to be not only intelligent, but also motivated. Motivation is something that may be hard to judge when looking solely at grade point averages and test scores. A leader is someone who is recognized as resourceful, driven, a problem-solver and dependable; in other words, leaders are motivated. Students with evidence of leadership experience are very attractive to college admissions officers.
Here are a few examples of how you can take on a leadership role during your high school years:
The main thing to remember is quality over quantity. It won’t necessarily impress the admissions panel if you spend a few hours at a dozen different activities during your senior year of high school. Instead, begin early (even 9th or 10th grade) and get involved with activities and clubs that truly interest you. By making a long-term commitment and moving up the ranks in leadership over the course of your high school career, you’ll demonstrate that you are able to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. Another thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily need to be the top dog to be considered a leader. Joining a charity committee, writing for the paper or mentoring a middle school student would all be considered leadership roles, even though they don’t carry titles like “president” or “captain.” Just be sure you maintain your grades along the way too.
When trying to standout from all the other college applicants, set yourself apart by taking on a leadership role at your school or in your community. It may be your ticket to getting admitted to the school of your choice.
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