Dear ipebble, write us a letter when you get to Harvard, will ya? —SparkNotes editors
I’m only a freshman, but because of the competition and pressure in my high school, I’ve been thinking about the big U way too much. The big U, in case it isn’t obvious to everyone else because they’re not obsessed like me, is "University."
Of course I want to get into a great one, and that’s why I’m writing up a list of things that look great on an application. Here’s how to spend your four years in high school killing time, having fun, and increasing your chances of getting into the big U…
1. Community service. Yes, I know all the stereotypes about how community service is for delinquents, but someone’s going to be impressed if you voluntarily help out your community. I don’t know about you guys, but in my school, it’s a requirement!
2. Join a sports team. However much you wish it were, reading is not a sport. Trust me, I've tried to make the argument, and no one's buying it. I’m hopeless at sports, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try! If I can do it, so can you. (And it’s the effort that counts anyway.)
3. Take up art. By art, I don’t necessarily mean pottery or painting. I mean art, music, or drama. Even if your dream is to be a world famous scientist, you might need to be able to tell a Kahlo from a Chagall at an important university mixer or something. I mean, what if you’re kidnapped and won't be released until you steal a Picasso that isn’t labeled? With a nice arts background, even if you don’t become a scientist, you can always be one on TV!
4. Learn how to write a perfect essay. Well, not perfect, but close to perfect. The essay that goes in your application needs to be amazing, and must capture the essence of you in just a few hundred words! It’s insane. You may think, "How am I supposed to explain myself? Should I mention how I like my veggies (even though I don't), the way I slip on the ice every morning in winter, the way I live in a country so hot that it never snows but I like to write about ice and slipping on it, the way I ramble and/or make stuff up when I’m nervous, how much I love McDonalds, but I’m a vegetarian...." No one can ever stop talking about themselves, but you must learn to write only about the important stuff.
5. Take up a random activity, and get good at it. Tai chi anyone? Perhaps Pilates or advanced calligraphy is more to your taste? Maybe SCUBA diving, or horseback riding? Pick something random, something that few others can do. Try out fly-fishing, canoeing, or maybe even training animals! There is an activity for everyone out there. It’ll be fun for you, and it’ll look good.
6. Do an extra extracurricular. If your school offers trips to thing like the MUN conference in the Hague, or to Spain, or France, or even Haiti for earthquake relief (I haven’t heard of this one yet, but here’s hoping), take advantage of it. Go with your friends, and make it fun. There’s always work related to school trips, but these jaunts are enjoyable when you’re with people who make you laugh.
What's your random activity/talent?
Related Post: Creative Solutions Part 1: College Admissions Essays