At the beginning of the year, Sanah Jivani invited me to do an interview for HelloFlo on how I got into college admissions.
You should definitely check out the interview if you’re interested in learning more about the story behind my decision to leave the world of higher education in order to focus more exclusively on mentoring high school students and guiding them through the college application process.
The “why” behind the mission of Get Yourself Into College® is really important to me, and I’ve discussed it in “The Power and Pleasure of Mentoring” as well as in “How We Did It: 6 Mid-Career Reinventions.”
WHAT’S YOUR WHY?
How and where are you going to convey it in your college applications?
When you’re working on your applications, it’s important to provide admissions officers with insight into your character, experiences, and habits of mind. You want readers to feel as though they really see and know you. One of the best ways to create this feeling of intimacy is through vivid anecdotes.
Teachers have probably told you to “show, don’t tell.” You should definitely be doing a lot of showing, but you can add force to your descriptions through the delicate art of telling.
When you get to the part where you zoom out to “tell,” you might want to consider sharing the “why” behind the significance of your experiences and goals.
How do these experiences connect to your broader mission, values, and/or perspectives?
Watch Simon Sinek’s “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” to learn more about why your “why” is so important to share if you want to get people inspired to rally to your cause.
Here’s a little snippet from Sinek’s TEDx talk (which has been viewed 27,017,307 times):
Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. . . .Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do. . . . Some know how they do it. . . .But very, very few people. . .know why they do what they do. . . .By `why,’ I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief?. . . .Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? . . . .The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations—regardless of their size, regardless of their industry—all think, act and communicate from the inside out.
He even provides some valuable insights into the power of language that you might find helpful when polishing your application essays. For instance, when talking about the influence of Martin Luther King, Jr., Sinek points out that he “gave the `I have a dream’ speech, not the `I have a plan’ speech.”
INSPIRING TEEN LEADERS
Sinek focuses mainly on adult leaders and companies.
Want to get your creative juices pumping and learn more about the inspired leadership of young people like yourself?
Do more than just explore what these amazing young leaders have done.
Think about how you can empower yourself and make a positive difference in the world based on your own interests and concerns!