Be an Extracurricular Superstar – Part II

This past year, a full scholarship was offered to only one transfer applicant to Stanford University. That student’s name is Ahmad Ali Lewis, known to 1990s hip hop fans as simply “Ahmad.” At 18 years old, Ahmad had a worldwide hit called “Back in the Day.” After touring all over the Americas and Europe, he started his own Christian hip hop group & performed alongside some of the most famous musicians in the world, spreading messages of peace and awareness to his fans.

A few years ago, Ahmad decided he wanted to provide a more stable life for his children, & enrolled at Long Beach City College, where he had a perfect 4.0 GPA for all four semesters. Last year, he successfully transferred to full-time classes at Stanford, despite having a wife and children.

What have you done lately?

Ahmad is exactly the type of person that stands out in college admissions. It’s not the kids who score 2400 on the SAT – 218 students did so in 2007, and half of them weren’t even accepted at Ivy League colleges. Instead, it’s the students who are actually out changing the world on a daily basis. Waking up & going to school everyday isn’t changing the world – it’s average.

So what can a student do to become one of these academic superstars? Here’s a step-by-step plan for you:

1. Figure out what is your greatest passion in life. I do NOT mean what your parents want you to major in. If your parents choose your major, you’re already screwed.

2. Find a way to become involved in that passion on a daily basis. Maybe it’s writing stories. Maybe it’s playing guitar. Maybe it’s working at an animal shelter.

3. Find a need in your community, relating to your passion, which is unfulfilled. Does your neighborhood need a recycling center?

4. Start a business or non-profit project that fulfills this need. I’ve seen normal students start recycling companies that went on to work with major, billion-dollar corporations. I’ve seen a high school student DJ with his iPod at some of the most famous clubs in the world.

5. Dream big. So you’ve put an entire year’s worth of free time into your project. Where to go from here? Wherever your dreams take you, that’s where. Take your business to Guangzhou. Sponsor events in Shanghai. Spend the summer working on recycling efforts in Sichuan.

The key to being a true extracurricular superstar is realizing that your classes aren’t the most important thing in your life, and that you, even as a student, have the opportunity to change the world. If you can do that, and show colleges that you’ll continue doing so once you’re a full-fledged university student – well then, my friend, you’ll choose whatever college you want.

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