Last time I talked about the rating system used by the University of Chicago in deciding who to accept. Today I want to explain one of the factors a bit more, the personal rating.

I told you that the colleges evaluate the activities you have been involved with including the level of commitment. But it actually goes deeper than that.

You see, what activity you have been involved with can make a huge difference. But not in the way you think. There is no one right activity. Being involved in sports is not better than being involved with quiz bowl. Band is not better than choir.

What does matter is that the college is looking to fulfill a need that the college has in the upcoming years.  If all of the trumpets in the band are graduating next year, that college will be looking for trumpet players. And if they admitted 12 trombone players last year, you don’t have a great chance of admissions this year if you play the trombone.

And as you may have already guessed, what a particular college wants changes from year to year.  I often have people tell me that the best activity is X because they knew a kid who did X last year who was admitted.  Great. But that means the college may be looking for Y this year.

Don’t worry about what the priority may be each year at a college. It is almost impossible to know unless you happen to be the dean of admissions at that college that year.  Instead focus on the activity you like best and which you are good at. Because some college is looking for someone like you right now.

 

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