Amanda Nachman Interview (Part 2)

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On today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt interviews Amanda Nachman, author and CEO and publisher of College Magazine, a magazine for and by college students. Together they discuss career development during COVID-19 and how students can find their most impressive qualities.


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: Absolutely. It’s something that can’t be quantified or qualified in a brochure or in an info session. It’s that first hand knowledge that really helps you learn about yourself and what you want to do. So I’m curious to ask you a little bit more about College Magazine. What inspired you to start that, and what’s your interest in working with college students? 

AN: I had this idea to create College Magazine when I was a student. So I was a senior at University of Maryland. Go Terps! And I wanted to create a guide that would help students be successful and figure out how to navigate college, right? So how to network with your professor, how to study abroad, how to make friends with the kids down the hall, and these were all things that I stumbled into or stumbled into figuring out. So I thought, “wouldn’t that be neat if there was this guide that was written by students for students about how to do college?” And that’s how it came to be. I flyered around my campus saying, “write for College Magazine”, and students showed up to write for it. 

AL: Wow. That’s amazing. And tell us a little bit about how you’ve built it up since that initial publication. 

AN: Yeah, it’s come a long way. So this was back in 2007. So my dream was a print magazine, and of course, I was dreaming big. I was dreaming national. But my advisors and mentors at the time were like, “Okay, dream big, but start small”. And so I started out my university, University of Maryland. I printed a mock up copy of my magazine and went on to the local businesses to sell ads. I got a ton of no’s, and probably most people would have given up with the amount of no’s that I got. And I think this is maybe a great metaphor for just about everything in your career and college. There’s gonna be rejection, and it just depends how passionate you are about whatever project or whatever school or whatever career it is that you want, because it’s that passion that drives you to keep going. And I kept going, and I was able to raise enough money to print the first 5,000 copies at my school, which my friends and I hand distributed. And that was the very beginning. Since then, I hustled like crazy. And distributing thousands of magazines grew to 14 campuses on the East Coast. And today we’ve obviously pivoted online. And now we reach millions of readers at collegemagazine.com 

AL: That’s an amazing story. I’m so happy you’ve been able to take that kind of initial seed of passion and really build it into something. The word that struck me when you were telling your story with persistence and how important that seems to be in your success and the success of your publication. That hustling like crazy. It’s not just that idea and that people need this, but it’s that drive to actually move it forward.

AN: Yeah. And sometimes we only realize that when we look back, it’s just looking back at what kept me going. And that’s how I was able to identify my “why”. And sometimes we have to carve out the time to intentionally think about “why is this important to me?” And for me, it was this was a guide I wish I had had, and I want to help other students. And I loved working with my student writers. And it was this whole experience of creating the magazines that I just fell in love with and the impact that it had. So I think if everyone who’s listening to this podcast can think about their “why”. Why are you involved in the sports that you’re in? Why are you involved in the key club? Why do you care about this fundraiser or whatever it is that you are part of when you can tell that story? That’s really the thing that you want to share. That’s the story where people start to connect with you, and that’s the story that keeps you going. Absolutely. 

AL: That’s so true for college essays and for job applications. I know that. And it also helps to drive better decisions, because if you know your why, where is going to support your why and where is not going to support your why. So if you know you want to study English and you know exactly why you want to speak English, and you can find the right English departments for you not just pick any school that has an English major. Right. That’s such an important part of our journeys as students and young professionals to just figure out this “why”. And it’s not easy. But as you said, it’s really important to carve out that time. I wanted to ask you about your book title and how you’re defining the word “impressive”, because I know that word can mean a lot to a lot of people. So I’d be curious, how do you define impressive and why do you think it’s important for people to understand their own impressiveness as they seek out opportunities in the world? 

AN: To me, “impressive” is kind of recognizing that we don’t always see all the ways in which we are impressive. A day in our lives isn’t as interesting to us, but it is to someone that’s never lived a day in our lives. So it’s again, carving out that time to get intentional about identifying the ways in which you have a lot of value to offer, and that value could be in the form of passion, of ideas of actual, tangible skills. And it’s taking those moments to think about your story. And when did you show up in a way where you shined, right? Was it on the basketball court? Was it designing and ordering the T-shirts for your school’s fundraiser? To me that says “creative, reliable leader”. So really finding those stories in those moments, and then from there, understanding how that demonstrates that you’ve got a lot of strengths and values to offer, and it makes you impressive.

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.