Last week I talked about expectations in the college search and application process. If you missed the post, check it out and come on back. I wanted to continue that trend this week but I wanted to put the focus on one specific area that tends to come up frequently this time of year:
I’m often asked questions like, “What are the best activities for me to be involved in?” or “Is it better for me to continue playing music or join the student newspaper?” Problem is, these questions are only answered in the context of who you are as a person.
If you’re interested in music then getting involved in your school band or writing your own lyrics is what you should do. If you want to be a writer, or work in public relations you should write. If you want to be a nurse, volunteering at the local hospital is where you should be. Engineer? Join a robotics club or participate in a competition. Criminal justice? Talk to the local police department about a ride-along program or join the Young Explorer’s Club.
In other words, the best extracurricular activities you choose will:
– Be something you VALUE
– Be something in which you have a true INTEREST
– Be something that relates to your PERSONALITY
– Be something that allows you to show off your SKILLS
Your values, interests, personality and skills make up what I call your VIPS. And these VIPS should help you develop and sustain your brand as a person. And it’s your brand that will stand out to college admission counselors as they review your application and ask the fundamental question, “Who is this applicant?”
Keep in mind that admission counselors are reviewing thousands of applications. That’s a lot of writers, music lovers, and future engineers. But by investing your time in activities that relate to your major and which are supported by your VIPS, you’ve taken an important step in making the most of your college application.
And that’s an important factor in this process. You have to really think about what you are going to do with your applications, how you are going to make the most of the opportunities presented to you and what you want admission counselors to know about you.
If you can get behind that idea, very good things can happen.
If you have any questions about extracurricular activities, branding or VIPS, please use the comment section below.
You can also email me directly at email@example.com for help with any aspect of your college search and application process.