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Ignore The "Well-Rounded" Students

Updated: Jan 11

You've heard it a million times before.


Your teachers have said it. Your college counselors have said it. You might have even told other people this.


The saying is that the best way to nail your college application is to be a "well-rounded" student. This is a flat out lie.

Well, sort of. The truth is that colleges DO like to see that you have tried different things and are involved in a couple of different activities during your time at high-school.


However, being "good" at a lot of different activities, without pursuing one more than the others (or getting better at one more than the others), is actually a surefire way to get rejected. It is important to try different things, but you will be seen as very bland or average without a real passion.


When you are applying to college, you may want to think about what you really love doing. And to be honest, it doesn't really matter what that thing is - all that matters is that you show the college you really love it.


Wakeboarding? Cool. Polar-Bear Photographer? Even better. Expert cheese-wheel connoisseur? NOW you are getting somewhere.

The point is - it doesn't really matter what the topic is because colleges know you are probably going to change your mind about what you love. And that is okay. They just want to know that you are capable of pursuing something with as much dedication as the guy above.


Let me give you an example:


For my personal application, I focused on one major activity: Public-Speaking. And I just tried to let the college know that I really loved doing that.


I was involved in other activities, but I framed my activities around my one true passion.


Theater? Public-Speaking. Tutoring? Public-Speaking. Ordering my lunch? Public-Speaking.

That's what I told colleges I wanted to do for the rest of my life and what I was good at - mainly, this one thing.


It worked out pretty well for me. And now, I am fortunate enough to be walking around Harvard's campus as a student - not as a tourist.


In short, when choosing whether to be well-rounded or full of passion, choose the passion every time.


Besides, you'll be much happier.


Photo Credit: Getty Images, PR Moment, The Wolf of Wall Street.