30 Jan 5 Life Skills for College Admission
While there are many students who are busy researching what is needed to get into their ‘dream’ college and it is one way to prepare for college applications, there is another choice. It is to look at the process inside out rather than outside in. That means, to look at what is needed on the skill level to be successful not only at college applications but at life. Like anything that is worth doing, skill development takes time and planning. Therefore, the following is meant for students who have time on their side – middle schoolers to early high schoolers. But even if you are in 12th grade, get going on a rushed version of the following skills with a resolve to come back, fill the gaps properly and start college on a strong footing.
Read Everyday, With a Purpose
You can read the same author and the same genre, for years. But it is not going to expand your horizons the way you need to. To reach your full potential, try to read many genres – fiction and non-fiction. Of course, there will be topics that you love and others that you don’t but find some books that intersect those two; ask your friends who enjoy the topics you don’t to give you recommendations. Read, learn something new, analyze, develop a worldview. Use reading to expand your small world of direct exposure. Also, think about what is it about a book or piece of writing – fiction or nonfiction – that keeps you glued to it? Is it the description of the surroundings that makes you feel you are on the journey with the characters? Is it how precisely they can summarize complicated information? Or, is it hard facts presented in a way that a layman can relate to them that? Enjoying the story is important but you can double the benefit by figuring out what makes you enjoy it. There are times when you must persist with a book even if it is not exciting.
Work on Communication Skills – Verbal and Written
Whether you are speaking with someone or sending them something in writing, it is important that you can convey the message that you want to convey and attain the outcome you intend to get out of it. In other words, you need the same skill, of keeping your readers engaged, while providing the most important information in a concise manner. Whether it is school papers or college application essays, it is this skill that can help you stand out from the rest. Just like any other skill, you need to learn from authors you admire and then practice writing often to get favourable outcome.
Plan Your Time
Time management is a skill that will help you get out ahead, no matter what you do and where you go. Many folks are intelligent and committed to their work but without planning and allocating appropriate time to all the tasks at hand, they are stressed out because all of the things pile up at the end. Do not take this skill lightly, this is one that can make all the others shine and helps you do it gracefully. Start with planning your school-work, extra-curricular activities but also all of your social activities. Decide how much time you will spend on each of those and then exercise self-discipline so it becomes part of you.
Pursue Meaningful Extracurriculars
These are not only for college applications, rather develop a set of extra-curricular activities that you enjoy and would love to master them. Colleges want to see that you have not wasted away your time, rather that you are someone who challenges yourself. In the end, you should be doing the activities outside of your school because you want to learn more than just academics and because you are a curious human being. Whether it is art, music, voluntary work, or myriad of other choices, go deeper – learn something, get better and teach it (or practice in another way) so that it helps you grow and gives back to the community.
Do the Difficult
We admire Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Rafa Nadal for their fighting spirit and never giving up. There is a lot more that goes behind the fame and accolade that these elite athletes get – hours and hours of relentless practice. We have seen many students dropping subjects (mostly Maths), books, sports, music lessons when the going gets tough. There is a famous saying by Theodore Roosevelt: “Nothing in the world is worth having or doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.” In an era of ease of swiping left or right, it is important to remember that achieving anything worthwhile requires dedication of many hours of grind. Learn to tell yourself that grind is good!
These skills need prioritization in your daily schedule so that they become strong tools in your repertoire that just coincidences. We wish you luck!
For recommendations on books to read, developing a timeline for college admission (it is never too soon, like we said), discussion of how to take your extracurriculars to the next level, or for help with editing your essays reach out to us anytime. We have seniors counselors and mentors who can help you present your best self to college, no matter how soon or far away is that milestone. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you reach your goals.