The Biggest Secret Ever

Just the other day, one of my old clients sent me an email from a far away land known as California. In that email, he included a link to an article titled “The Biggest Secret You’ll Ever Learn About Elite College Admissions,” and the following message: Check out this article. You were always totally right. Thanks so very much for your advice.

That’s right folks, you heard it here first – yours truly has long been in possession of THE biggest secret you’ll ever learn about how to get into the greatest colleges in the world. Of course, even my top students (those who pay out the nose for 1-on-1, year-round guidance that gets them accepted into the likes of UPenn and Yale) never seem to believe me until they actually receive their letters of admission.

In fact, my old student above didn’t believe me, even though he’s already been accepted at one of the greatest schools in the world, until he read that article written by an admissions officer at a Top-20 American university. So what is this big secret, and why is it that no one ever believes me when I repeat it over, and over, and over?

Simple. As it was written so eloquently in that admission officer’s article: “It’s the stories, not the scores. It’s the stories, stupid!”

Yes, you read that right. Admissions officers in elite colleges review, literally, thousands of applications. They see hundreds of valedictorians (#1 ranked students). They see hundreds of students with perfect 2400 SAT scores. They see hundreds of students who are involved in fifteen different clubs and have perfect GPAs.

But you know what they don’t see very much? Good stories. They don’t receive well-written essays that really give insight into a student’s unique feelings and perspective on life. They don’t get to read about activities that draw out a student’s passions. They rarely get to feel any common ground with a student, to sympathize with them. They rarely smile when reading an application, simply because a student is so fun, so unique, and has such an interesting story to tell.

So stop worrying about all of those stupid extracurriculars (yes, admissions officials think they’re stupid too). Stop worrying about the SATs (a 50-point jump is not impressive – you already took the test once, after all). Instead, start wondering to yourself, if this application were a short story about my life, would anyone want to read it?

Uh oh, the secret is out.

1 Comment for “The Biggest Secret Ever”

  1. You are absolutely correct. Great article.

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