Be Your Best
I have always looked to simplify life around me, and most of the times it has been easy, because I have been ruthless about throwing out things that were not in use at the time of the clean-up. Similarly, after reading a lot of books, we came to the conclusion that there was very little that we needed to communicate to young people who come to us for mentoring or help in securing admissions to international colleges. Precisely three words actually - “Be Your Best”.
Let me deconstruct this message a little for you. When you are giving your best for anything that you do, you gain confidence. And as we have been saying time and again, the biggest thing holding each one of us back is the “lack of confidence”. It is prevalent all around us and the ambivalent behavior makes us doubt ourselves. The best counter to this is to believe in your efforts. A previous post about Old Masters also highlights the compounding effect of effort over longer periods. If you have made the effort to do something well and with authenticity, the quality of your work will improve!
Being your best extends to behaviors as well. Access to multiple mediums of communication – social media, blogs, open forums, etc. have literally given everyone a microphone. Therefore, it is easy to believe that only public communications matter. But Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest orators of all times, thought and mastered the nuances of private communication just as much. To lead people, you need to be able to have the ability to communicate at an individual level, as much as the ability to give a rousing speech. And the only way to connect at an individual level is to be authentic in your interactions.
You might be wondering what this has to do with college admissions.
When you are giving your best in your chosen domain and building deep expertise, admission officers will appreciate the passion you exude as it flows onto your application. It will also help you in making sensible choices for your career, rather than being driven by the environment. And if you are authentic in your interactions, you will treat the CommonApp also with the same level of honesty. Technology has enabled most of the well-established colleges to discern between honest and dishonest applications to a larger degree than ever before. Admission staff checking out your Facebook/LinkedIn profiles, verification of your claims through third-party service providers like First Advantage and DocuSign etc, using the Big 5 factors psychometric assessment on your applications is becoming commonplace. The lowered cost of using these tools alongside the infamy of having notorious alumni, is making the schools careful in who they give admission to. As Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and only 5 minutes to ruin it”. No one wants to run the risk, especially not the vaulted institutions that have spent centuries building their name up. So the best strategy at gaining admission into a college of your choice is to be authentic and make your best efforts.
All the best!
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