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You want to Get into Top College or University? You have to be interesting


A recent piece in “The Atlantic” written by David A. Graham entitled “How to Get Into Harvard” points out what every student who wants to get into a top school should know. In the piece, Graham quotes Harvard’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust, who states, “‘We could fill our class twice over with valedictorians”. What this means is that admissions officers rely on intangibles like interesting essays or particularly unusual recommendations to decide who comprises the 5.9 percent of applicants who get into Harvard. Gilpin Faust says straight out what parents must do with their children: “Make your children interesting!”


The majority of students seem not very interesting at all. Perfect grades and perfect ACT or SAT scores do not make a person interesting. In fact, there is a good chance that a student with a 2,250 is more interesting that a student with a 2,400 SAT score. Test scores and grades simply do not correlate with “interestingness.”


Private college admission counselors like those at Harvest Academy can assist students with sounding interesting. This assistance can be provided by helping the student find the best topic for the application essay and then developing that topic through the process of writing the essay. The most interesting topics are often not the most obvious topics or topics that the student even thinks will make an effective essay. In fact, perhaps paradoxically those topics that are farthest from the student’s mind are usually the best topics. Counselors can be a tremendous help in this process by providing guidance and techniques to bring out the best topics for each individual student.