And I laughed as I read the article.
Why? Because there is no secret code to crack. It is all about what each college wants.
Every college wants good grades and strong test scores But the most selective colleges want more. They want interesting students. They want students with a passion or focus. And they have needs to fill.
They need softball catchers and if that is you this year you have a leg up in admissions. But if they filled the catcher’s position last year with two good candidates you may be out of luck this year. They need researchers and flutists and backstage drama people and… You get the idea. Their goal is to make a well rounded class.
This isn’t magic and it isn’t a secret code. Unfortunately, what you don’t know in this admissions process is what each college needs each year. Maybe Harvard needs that softball catcher this year but Stanford needs a flute player. If the flute player applies to Harvard and the softball catcher applies to Stanford they are both likely to be disappointed. Not because they aren’t great students but because of unfortunate timing.
So how do you figure out what you should have a passion in? Is there a best passion? ABSOLUTELY NOT. College admissions is not about trying to be something or someone you are not. Figure out what you like and what you are good at and focus your efforts on those things.
In other words, just be who you are. Develop your interests and passions and apply to a range of colleges. Not matter how many stories you hear, there are lots of best colleges out there for every student. And if your “dream” college is not looking for students that look like you this year, that is their loss. Forget about them and attend one of the colleges that want what you can offer.
And now you too know the “secret code” to getting into the best colleges.