10 Mar Don’t be a Template (Podcast #2)
“We’re making the world more interesting, one student at a time.”
This quote was from my latest podcast, with UC admissions expert Wei-Li Sun. And it’s a theme that runs through this episode. To be a standout candidate in the eyes of admissions folk, you have to, well, stand out!
How do you go about doing that? You’ll just have to listen to the podcast to get the full scoop. But here’s a little taste…
Being unique involves knowing yourself better and living your life congruent to that. Thing is, society doesn’t much like originality or independent thought. There’s comfort in conformity, whether it’s in business in culture. Some people, if not most people, live their entire lives not getting to know themselves very much at all. Before we get into why, consider this analogy —
Many programs come with templates. MS-Word is a good example of this. If you’re in Word, you can open up a letter template, a resume template, there are even templates for invitations. Usually, people open up a template, fill out their info, and they’re done.
If it’s an important document, like a resume, this is a horrible idea.
You know what’s an even more horrible idea?
Taking the template approach to your entire life!
Yet that’s what most people do. They take what’s given to them, what’s expected of them, do some rudimentary “filling in” and a call it a day—er, life.
Now, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. What I am telling you is that the template approach will equal admissions heartbreak. When your application shows you conforming in your activities, extra-curriculars and academics, you will seem as two-dimensional as the paper it’s printed on.
So let Wei-Li Sun and me tell you how to be unique and not a template: