“How can my child stand out on college applications?” This remains one of the age old questions with the college process.
And to answer that question, I’d like to share a personal story with you.
Recently, I was at a dance class.
Now, you should know that I am NOT a dancer.
I grew up as an athlete. I never once stepped foot in a dance studio until my late twenties when I discovered how much I loved Zumba fitness classes.
But, as it turns out, I’m actually a pretty decent dancer.
So the other day, I found myself in a hip hop dance class on a Saturday morning. There were people of all ages and dance abilities.
I was having so much fun getting a workout in while dancing in my own zone.
And then…I began looking around the room. I became entranced by some of the more experienced dancers who were shaking, moving and grooving with individuality and flare.
They would add their own twist or pop or spin in between beats while still staying in rhythm.
And it was awesome!
I wanted to be just like them.
But throughout the class, two things would happen when I started watching how awesome some of the other dancers were…
1) I would get so distracted watching other people that I forgot what moves I was supposed to be doing. And so I wound up standing there, hardly moving at all, until I regained consciousness and focused on my own steps again.
2) I would see how great a certain move looked when someone added their own flare to a step…and I would try to do it just like that person. But you see, I’m not that person. I didn’t have their experience. Or their body. Or their skills. And it just looked awkward on me.
When I started watching or copying others, I lost myself. And in doing so, I was worse off than when I began.
During this class, I got to thinking: kids in high school act in exactly the same way.
Your child has their own style. Their own interests. Their own passions that light them up and make them stand out.
But sometimes, they look up from their own unique activities or quirks or personality…
They start seeing what someone else is doing well. And they want to copy what someone else is getting attention for.
When this happens, high school students will act just like I did in dance class.
They’ll either stop doing what they were already doing well, and they’ll be back to ground zero doing nothing while watching others succeed.
Or they’ll try to start emulating others, and it won’t look right. It will feel fake and forced.
See where I’m going here…?
On your child’s college application, it’s easy for college admissions officers to spot the kids who are dancing in their own style. In their own style. And coming to life in their own way.
And it’s easy for them to see which kids are just following along and emulating others. Trying to look like someone else. Or just doing what they think colleges want to see.
So the moral of the story is…
It’s not so important what activities your child chooses.
Bur rather, it’s important to see that they are doing what excites them and what drives them. Remind your child to follow their curiosities. Do what they enjoy. And follow their OWN path.
Colleges want to see that your kid is dancing to the beat of their own drum. In their own style. In their own lane. So in answer to that age old question: THIS is how your child can stand out among the stacks of college applications.