Four years, over 2 million minutes and over 1 billion seconds of high school comes down to 8 minutes of admissions review. Eight minutes!

What am I talking about?

In case you missed it, The Wall Street Journal reported that elite colleges like Penn, Rice and Bucknell are making admissions reviews extremely short by splitting up application pieces amongst admissions reviewers.

Some say that the fragmented review–splitting up materials across admissions readers–
detracts from the “holistic” review.

I agree that this method has potential to detract from the human element of the admissions review, and some admissions officers I know expressed disappointment that the process was changed (previously, 2 admissions reviewers would review the entire application and write a report with their thoughts before it passed through to the committee).

But the eight-minute review isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Trust me, spending 60 minutes with your application would probably yield the same result as spending only eight minutes with it.

Why? A brilliant and bold application that includes a wonderful essay is nice to have.

The content of your college application is only as good as what you have already accomplished.

Of course, that impact must be impeccably represented and detailed on the application itself, but, if you’re a senior, the impact you’ve had in high school can’t be undone or redone in time for college applications.

The college application is very simply a record of your experiences in high school, your self-presentation through your essays, and endorsements from your teachers.

While eight minutes may not seem like a lot of time, when you’ve reviewed thousands of applications, outstanding applications still rise above the rest.

And in an applicant pool where very few will be admitted that’s exactly what you’re looking for–something outstanding, something exceptional, something admission-worthy.

As a high school student, you must do something outstanding with your time–by outstanding, I mean authentic, collaborative, original, and exceptional.

Without doing something outstanding while in high school, it will be extremely difficult to stand out in a competitive applicant pool–even if your application gets a full day of quality time with an admissions officer.

How can you start making your impact today? Hint: Don’t look at your friend for clues on what to do with your time.