‘Tis the season to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions! Lest you think that New Year’s resolutions are for those older than you, or those aspiring to kick bad habits, you, too, can consider how you can improve yourself in 2022.
For those of you aspiring to university after Aiglon, I recommend that you resolve to strengthen your activity profile at school by:
- Pursuing what you like to do
- Committing to doing it for the whole year (and maybe for many years)
- Demonstrating leadership and collaboration
Pursuing What You Like to Do
One of the most vivid memories I have from my time as a Penn admissions officer was when I was speaking with a parent after a presentation I gave with Duke, Georgetown, Harvard and Stanford representatives. This parent kept asking me to tell her the precise activities her child needed to pursue to be admitted to our universities. Unfortunately, she didn’t like the truthful answer I had given her: universities want you to do what you care about; in other words, some of you will be well-rounded–compete on the ski team, do community service, and be the star of the play–while others will specialise in a particular activity –maybe playing instruments and writing music every day. There is no right or wrong way to be. Universities want you to be you!
Universities want you to do what you want over time. They like it when students join an activity and get more and more involved with it over time. For example, maybe you join Model United Nations in Year 10 and you keep working at it until you compete at Model UN at The Hague in Year 12. If you transferred to Aiglon during your high school career, consider continuing activities you pursued at your previous school; also, remember that admissions officers will understand that you transitioned schools and therefore transitioned in your activities. Universities prefer commitment to someone who does a different activity each term because it demonstrates to them that this student will bring dedication to their student organisations.
Leadership and Collaboration
Do universities like leaders? Sure, but they also need to admit team players, people who can collaborate with others in their classrooms, residence halls, and student organisations. In other words, contribute actively to your organisations, whether you are the student in charge or not. If you do have a leadership position, universities want to hear how you acted on your leadership; being a leader in name only is not impressive to them. For instance, they would like to hear that as a leader you brought new ideas and initiatives to the group.
As you think about your activity resume, remember that you are not alone in deciding what to do. Do not hesitate to talk about your options with University Advising–we’d be happy if you paid us a visit to the top floor of Forbes.
Enjoy getting involved in Aiglon’s active student community!
About Elizabeth Downing
Beth is an Associate Director in Aiglon’s University Advising Department. She joined Aiglon in January 2021 after sixteen years within the University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Admissions. Beth has evaluated over 20,000 university applications, recruited students globally, and spoken at international forums on higher education and admissions. She enjoys working with Aiglon students and exploring the natural beauty of Switzerland with her pup, Jack.