In one of the most shocking moves this year, a wave of colleges announced that they would de-emphasize the role of standardized test scores in their admission process. Some, like Caltech, went as far as to not require any SAT or ACT scores for the next two years, officially becoming “test-blind”. So, how do you know what makes a competitive applicant anymore?!
Extracurricular Activities Are Everything
Extracurricular activities are now more important than ever! The way you choose to spend your time outside of high school will help admission officers see your strengths and passions. But do colleges prefer students with traditional activities like sports and debate, or are you better off if you have something unconventional on your activity list?
What we do know for sure is that you should not be doing something just because you want to put it on your application. Admission officers at top Ivy League schools are pros at seeing through “fluff”, so joining 5 different clubs in your junior and senior year won’t fool anyone!
Don’t Be A Cookie Cutter Student
We talked to hundreds of Cornell University students about what they thought was the strongest part of their application and they all agreed. It wasn’t their high test scores, or their near-perfect GPAs. It was their unique extracurriculars! The three things we KNOW colleges always look for when looking at students’ activities are: Passion, Leadership and Impact
So, how many activities or clubs at your school are you actually passionate about? There’s only so many leadership positions available anyway! And what if you feel like you cannot truly make an impact on your local community? We have the solution, that ticks all the boxes:
Start Your Own business For A Social Cause
Now, it’s natural to think: “I’m only 16, how can I start my own business?” “Isn’t a business like a full-time job? I’m just a high school student, I don’t have time for this!” “I don’t have any capital? I wouldn’t even know where to start!”
We know this may sound intimidating but hear us out! Starting a business for a social cause that you actually care about shows immense passion and incredible initiative. You’re not just stepping into a leadership position that others before you have done. And your impact does not need to be limited to only your local community anymore! You can have a nation-wide, or even global impact, depending on the social cause you find most important.
Confused About Where To Start?
Think about your passions first! Maybe it’s video games. All that time you spent on Twitch can finally come in handy. Studies have shown that video games can increase creativity in kids and, if played in moderation, can be a great way to relax after a stressful day. Moreover, multiplayer games like Fortnite and Call of Duty are a great way to stay in contact and socialize with your friends, even if you’re in quarantine! So, it's safe to say that everyone, no matter their age, could benefit from having access to playing video games.
Now, think about problems and hurdles that others might face within the gaming community. Come up with a couple solutions for one the problems. Don’t be afraid to think big, not just at a local level!
And there you have it! You have a unique business idea, that solves a real problem, which will show any college committee what you are passionate about and that you are not afraid to take initiative!
Take Your Application To The Next Level
If you agree that starting your own business for a social cause will help differentiate you from all the “well-rounded” high school students around you, take the next step and sign up for an entrepreneurship program that will guide you through every step of the way.
Supported by Entrepreneurship at Cornell, Life Changing School is a virtual high school program founded and run by Cornell University members and entrepreneurs. In LCS you will learn everything you need to know to build a sustainable startup focussed on social impact. You could even begin making money by the end of the program. So apply today and start working on your own startup immediately!