What kind of academic excitement does your student have? Burning curiosity? Self-discovery? Self-determination?
IGNITING FIRE: transformative paths
ONCE UPON A time, admission to elite colleges was all but assured by high grades and strong test scores. Nowadays, high marks will barely get you in the door. Once students clear the hurdles of GPA and SAT, extracurriculars make or break their chances.
Colleges want to see high-level development and commitment. They want to see students who have identified their strengths and propelled themselves forward with drive and intensity. Robin Mamlet, the former Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Stanford, has described “academic excitement” as the common attribute displayed by students who gained acceptance to elite colleges.
What others calls academic excitement, we call fire. When fired up about their future, students no longer approach classes and extracurriculars as dutiful efforts to stock a resume. They’re driven by inspiration and the burning curiosity of self-discovery and self-determination.
Part II: Fire
Fire is the drive that takes your child’s talents and interests to the next level of skills and passions. Fire is what gives your child a vision of
the life she wants to pursue and to convey confidence and purpose to admissions boards. Fire will carry your student into college, maximize undergraduate experiences, and provide momentum for meeting the real world with a sense of maturity.
This process isn’t about meeting external expectations or comparing your child against others. It’s about your child finding and engaging in distinct, well-fitting experiences to find a sense of purpose and fulfillment. For nearly two decades, I’ve helped young people prepare for college by encouraging the four paths of growth and maturation that colleges look for in applications:
• Entrepreneurship • Service
If your child hasn’t won a major award, been published, or started a business, don’t be discouraged. All students have a unique talent and passion, a clear fire that will naturally emerge as they pursue their talents and interests.
I say this with certainty because I have seen hundreds of young people discover their hidden talents and do extraordinary things once they found their inner fire. I’ve included some of their stories here for inspiration.
As you read, remember that when these students first started working with us, they felt as uncertain about the road ahead as your child might feel.
Thanks for tuning in!
Next time: Transformative Paths – Leadership