We get it. It’s not easy to learn on your own. Having teachers who structure your assignments and hold you accountable is really valuable. But for most of you, access to your teachers is limited right now, so learning is more challenging. What are you going to do in the face of that challenge?
1. Celebrate and devote yourself to the longest spring break ever?
2. Shrug your shoulders and just wait until you get assignments from your teachers?
3. Step up, use your initiative and creativity to figure out a way to keep learning, and maybe even go deeper and further into a subject than you could if you were constrained by the same old daily school schedule?
Any one of these responses is possible, and we expect that many of you will opt for #1 or #2. However, if you have your sights set on being admitted to a selective college, then you should choose #3. Selective colleges want excellent students and excellent students are so crazy in love with learning that nothing can stop them!
Don’t believe us? You only have to check out what admissions officers look for and value in applicants. This list of questions that Harvard uses in their application process is representative:
Have you been stretching yourself? Have you been working to capacity in your academic pursuits, your full-time or part-time employment, or other areas? Do you have reserve power to do more? How have you used your time? Do you have initiative? Are you a self-starter? What motivates you? Will you be able to stand up to the pressures and freedoms of College life?
In other words, slackers and followers need not apply.
Okay, so you’re convinced, but you’re still a bit unsure about how to go about taking responsibility for your own learning. After all, until a few weeks ago, being a good student meant doing your assignments and conquering tests. True enough, but we’re confident you can do it. Here are our tips for stepping up to the challenge:
Bottom line: Step up and keep learning. Not only will it help you on your quest to be admitted to your dream college, it will make your daily life much more interesting!
Anna Ivey is one of the founders of Inline. An experienced admissions consultant and a frequently cited media expert on the topic of college admissions, she is also co-author of the college admissions bible How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.