In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt talks about some questions applicants should ask themselves before applying.

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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 talking about a listener question: What questions should applicants ask themselves before they start applying to college. So, the two most important questions that an applicant can answer for themselves are. One, “what do I love to do in my spare time?” and two, “what is the best way for me to do my more of this activity in order to expand upon my interest”? Whether you are in 9th grade or 11th grade or even about to embark on the college application process, it’s important for you to understand that elite an Ivy League colleges are looking for students who have deeply impacted their school, community, or surroundings. The best way to make an impact is to dive deeply into one to two things as opposed to gathering a laundry list of extracurricular activities. You know this type. People who just attend club meetings and don’t really get anything out of them, except for some free food or just sign on to a Zoom and then go on mute and turn off their camera. Instead of taking these time-sucking opportunities you’re better off inducting academic research independently, Starting some kind of nonprofit or business or launching a new club. Contrast this with most students who play it safe. They show up mindlessly attend a couple of competitions, but don’t come out with much experience or understanding of what they want to do or what they like about that opportunity. Diving deeply into one to two things will give you concrete and measurable ways to make an impact and provide you with opportunities to succeed. And sometimes to fail, which believe it or not, Looks good on a college application. You know why? Because failing is life experience which informs goals which enhances your narrative as an applicant, Another important set of questions that will help you as you apply to college are questions about your college major. To choose a major, students should ask What topics seem to provide best umbrella to encompass most or all of my interests? Second question: “what majors are less popular which could potentially provide me with bonus points to stand out among my peers?” For some students, the answer is clear about what they want to study and why. But for most, it’s really not. Many students come to me and they say they want to study engineering or business. This can be a logical choice for some students because of their demonstrated experience and engineering or business and their family lineage of engineering and business and early exposures they may have had to these fields. But think about if you want to study, engineering or business because you actually like these topics Or if you say you want to study engineering or business, because you see these majors as a means to make money after college. Now, I don’t want to say that earning potential is unimportant. But this is four years of your life and a big investment up front of your time and money to get this degree. You can make your best fake guess about what you want to study. But don’t make money the only driver of your decision. In addition, you might not realize how many majors can provide strong earning potential besides engineering and business. It’s been widely publicized at tech companies like Google actually prefer to higher liberal arts majors because it increases cognitive diversity. Some of the most successful people I know in the business world have majored in creative fields like the arts and entertainment. I majored in music business, which is kind of a hybrid of the two. But employers are honestly looking for creative, self-starting people who can learn on the job. Many skills that you might need for a job won’t even be available to you in college. It’s really important for you to choose a major where you can succeed, grow your confidence, and grow your opportunities rather than pigeonhole yourself into something you think will make you a certain amount of money after school. Another truth about majors is if you do well in college and find an employer you like, Once you get hired, no one cares what you majored in. Before you graduate from college, you can find ways to build your skills and diversify, if that fits your goals, or just makes you feel better to have some extra classes. For example, you could be an English major but take courses in computer science and in business. If you haven’t had any exposure to majors yet, summer pre-college programs can provide a wonderful way for you to explore new academic subjects that you don’t have access to in high school or to deepen your interest in one or more topics that you already know you like Going to a summer program will give you better insight and experience to share with the admissions office about what you want to study and why. If you’re interested in research, Ivy Insight has an emerging leader program which runs year round and gives you access one to one with a top professor in many different fields. This will allow you to complete a research project and explore a cool new topic that you’ve never discovered before. So by continuing to ask yourself questions you’ll come closer to the truth about what you want to major in and how you want to spend your time outside of studying. Seeking the truth and pursuing knowledge is what college is all about.

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.