“Think Again” By Adam Grant – Lessons for College Admissions

Feb 12, 2021 | podcast

In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt discusses her colleague Adam Grant’s new book “Think Again” and how it can be applied to college admissions.

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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 and author of “Get Real and Get In”. Today, we’re going to be discussing think again by Adam Grant and lessons for college admissions. Full disclosure, I’m a huge Adam Grant fan and have known him since my time at Wharton. which was even before his first book give and take. Adam and his college story actually appear in my forthcoming book, “Get Real and Get In” so you’ll want to check that out. And if you want to see a preview, you can head over to my Forbes column to see it. As a top management thinker, Adam’s wisdom about human and organizational behavior have great value for you to ponder as you develop your mindset around college admissions. Adam’s latest book, “Think Again”, is all about learning to question your own opinions and open your mind as a way to position yourself for excellence. If you’re listening to this podcast, I assuming you have above average intelligence. You are highly qualified for college. Adam argues, though, and I agree that there’s another set of skills that might actually be more important as you move forward. And those are the skills and ability to unlearn and to rethink. I see this all the time with clients. They walk into a zoom session or the college application process in general and assume that getting into their dream school is the only goal for working together. For example, maybe they want Stanford or Harvard or of course, Wharton, where Adam and I have had a lot of history, But getting into your dream school is not actually a goal. It’s your aspiration for a place where you’d like to study. A goal is something concrete, specific, and measurable. Like learning, how to sight-read music, fluently speak a language, or get over your fear of flying. There are no skills involved in gaining admissions to your dream school. Rather, it’s a combination of having the right preparation, the best presentation on your application, and opening up the right doors at the right time. When you “think again” about your college process, you can start to shift away you’re thinking from dream school as goal mentality and work towards improving yourself on route to your dream school. This is counterintuitive but actually, in shifting your mind, you become a better applicant for college. Which, of course, positions you better for that dream school. This is because when you question yourself and you can better understand the world around you, you can think bigger and greater about the possibilities for your life. You can think about that many paths through which you can achieve your goals. You can think about that many doors that could open from having thought through and execute it on those goals, Your dream school is hopefully part of it because it’s your dream but it may not be. Here are some traps you can avoid and start to think again to build yourself up for greater success. One, beware of what Adam calls “becoming a preacher”. This is when we start to get defensive when we see that our views are getting challenged. We have to remember, as we are in the process of becoming or are high performers, our values need to be changed and amended sometimes. When we have plans that don’t work out, we need to be adaptable and come up with a new solution or to ask ourselves the question about that same problem. For example, if you thought you wanted to be an engineer, but you can’t seem to get above a B on your exams, that’s data. So rather than exact or the B and insist on becoming an engineer, perhaps there is something that that B is telling you. Which can help you to figure out either something different to do or to figure out how to apply yourself to the topic of physics in a new way in a more strategic way. Two, you have to be aware of becoming a prosecutor. This is when we as intelligent people observe others find faults in their actions or words and expended energy. Trying to be something different from what they are. This is like when you’re in class with the chatty, smart kid and you’re the quiet, studious one. Rather than speaking up often, which could potentially benefit you, the class discussion, and your learning, You instead focused on being what you think you don’t want to be which is that chatty kid that annoys you. Rather than trying to not be someone who actually want to be who you are. The third trap is becoming the politician. This is when you’re too focused on being right in a group setting. Perhaps you have to encountered this or have been that person on your robotics team, on M.U.N or debate. This is somebody who’s going to take on all the work themselves and then throw other people under the bus for not doing their fair share Just so they can get their way and of course, doing things in the way that they believe will help them gain the most success. So, when we’re focused on getting our way at the expense of others, we lose our ability to question update our beliefs which could lead to better growth opportunities. So by being intellectually curious, open to new ideas, and working on our emotional capabilities, We are more likely to overcome these traps. So as you take your college admissions journey, we encourage you to think again about your goals, question your beliefs, and take your best foot forward on the roads ahead.


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.