Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Apply to College - Step 1: Find Your Passions

Applying to college is all about marketing yourself. You need to tell your life story in a way that is compelling and memorable. One important aspect of this are your passions.

A passion is an area of strong interest that you are excited about and want to explore in depth. This can be anything - puppets, astronomy, acting, mathematics, cooking, video games... the list goes on. It's important to identify your passions so you can effectively develop and market them.

This information will be the most beneficial for those of you in 10th grade and under. The younger you are, the better. However, if you are a junior or senior, don't worry! This video will help you learn how to market yourself.

About a week ago, I sat down with my brother and helped him figure out what his passions are and how he will develop them in a way that is most beneficial for applying to college. Here is what I did.

1) Write down your extra curricular activities.
2) Write down a list of your interests. This is unlimited - it can be anything you're working on or thinking about.
3) Pick your top 2-4 interests.
4) Figure out what you are already doing to pursue them and how you can develop them further.

I'll illustrate #4 with what my brother did.

Brother's Interest Pathways

Art & Video Games (Primary Focus)
  • Goal: Develop original video game in 1 year (March 2012)
  • Your roles:
    • Conceptual designer - animation, "programming art," creating your world & characters
    • Marketer - get the game to sell
      • Website
      • Reach out to gaming commentator community
  • Suggestions from Olive:
    • Create timeline with broad & specific goals
    • Don't take on too many extra curricular activities! Leave enough time to focus on your game.
Piano (Primary Focus)
  • Goal: Perform & win competitions, volunteer
    • Continue path you are on (winning competitions, scholarships, receiving honors, performing)
    • Volunteer at nursing home
My brother did have a secondary focus (Movie Making), but I told him to drop this in order to have time to work on his two primary focuses.

I emphasized to him the importance of knowing how to communicate what you are doing. Instead of saying "I'm an artist for a game" say "I'm the conceptual designer for my original game." Instead of "I'm selling a game" say "I'm the CEO of a company that is selling my game." Do you see the difference?

I hope this helps!


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