3 Outstanding Activities for Top Tier Colleges

Feb 1, 2021 | podcast

In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt talks about activities that top tier colleges love to see.

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VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 

AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. This is Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and Elite Admissions Expert at Ivy Insight. Today we are going to be discussing three outstanding extracurricular activities for top tier colleges. What activities admissions officers consider to be absolutely outstanding. And the amazing thing is that these activities have nothing to do with what’s available at your school. I was even recommending these activities before COVID-19 and I’m recommending them now. Even if you like your school clubs, trust me. These three things are much more impressive than most opportunities available through your school. The first is conduct independent research. Outside of your papers for classes that required, for example, your assignment. This is a research project that may involve a co-authorship or a mentorship by a professor at a university. You can find someone local to your community or do email outreach. I have a student, for example, who’s being mentored by a professor at University of Chicago and reached out to that person and has a long-term assignment with him. Other students of ours work with us on our emergently either program in our Emerging Leader program. In our Emerging Leader program, we can give you access to 95+ professors to help you figure out what research project you would like to complete. So what does academic research do for your college applications? This activity is not only super impressive because it shows that you’ve been willing to become an expert in a topic. But it can also be really helpful for you because it’s going to help you choose your major or refine your academic interests. The second activity is to launch your own nonprofit or social action organization. To make this one work you have to be truly passionate about a cause or group. For example, I have a student who started an oyster gardening organization and another who started a nonprofit that helped mothers who recently gave birth to premature babies. Make no mistake. Nonprofits need commitment to a cause as well as some degree of business knowledge. You have to build a community of followers and supporters so that you can succeed and you have to build a team. You have to think about who should be on your team and how can you align the roles. So that you can get the mission of your organization delivered on. So what’s starting a nonprofit due for your competitiveness to college? Well it’s a great way for you to demonstrate your leadership, your team building skills, perhaps your fundraising skills, and your commitment to a cause that you’re truly passionate about. And what’s amazing about starting a nonprofit organization or social action organization is that it gives you so many ways to explore your interest whether you want to be more of a content creator or a coalition builder or someone who reaches out to policy organizations and other school-based organizations that relate to the mission of your organization. Number three: create content. So, like I’m doing this podcast, you could also start a podcast. You could write a book or you could start a blog. You have what it takes it’s not easy I’m not going to lie, but you can do it. And the possibilities are wide. To start, you want to brainstorm topics that you’re interested in and passionate about. I have one student for example who wrote for the Huffington Post, another who designed a blog around his interest in cognitive science, and the third who started a webinar series where she interviewed professors about human rights conflicts. By the way, that was also a great opportunity for her to network with professors on the way to her college applications. So when you’re thinking about your idea there’s objectively, no “best idea”. It’s really only the best idea for you. And the best idea is generally going to be a topic that you want to learn more about or a topic that you already know a lot about and you can share with others. So, if you don’t know a lot about the topic you’re interested in, you can use the podcast, blog, or book to do research to connect with people like the professors that I mentioned to enhance your knowledge and to build your expertise around that topic. If you’re choosing a topic you already know a lot about, you can share your deep knowledge of the topic and find ways to enhance your understanding of the topic along the way. So, what is creating content do for your competitiveness to college? Well, it shows your ability to think creatively to build a team, generate an impact and achieve a high level of mastery in something. So, which of these three options appeal most to you? What is the first action you need to take to launch your idea to reality? Who do you need to get on board and what resources do you need to make your effort succeed? Asking yourself these types of questions is the first step in the right direction. It may seem daunting at first to launch one of these projects but trust me. You have what it takes and I can’t wait to see what you do.

VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222- 5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.