Posted by Mimi Doe.
Okay I get it, you’re a teenager — how on earth can you establish your “brand” when you aren’t sure what your next English paper angle is, what to wear to school tomorrow, which classes to take next year or even what you are doing this summer. But think about it, you market other people’s brands day in and day out: the phone you use, clothes you wear with visible labels, music you listen to. Why not become conscious about your own brand?
Read any Ivy League alumni magazine in September and you will learn about all the “brands” they snagged as part of their killer freshman classes. They will brag about the circus performer who was home schooled (circus schooled) yet scored triple 800s on her SATs and wrote a book about balance that hit the best-seller list. They will feature the science genius who took part in cutting edge research at MIT’s Research Science Institute and is now part of the consortium for the newest genome laser that reduces skin cancer cells and has joined the White House science advisory board at age 17. These kids are “brands” that colleges look for. They want well rounded classes, not well rounded students. They want to deepen their own brand (think US News and World Report) and admitted students’ scores, talents, and achievements add up to the school’s brand. If you want to go to a top tier college, what’s the brand you are offering them.
We care about education here at Application Boot Camp. I have a Master’s in Education, Michele has an EdD and Kristen has a PhD. So don’t think we are in any way suggesting that you can find a short cut to the Ivies with some bells and whistles. Academics are 80% of admissions. Focus on your grades and standardized test scores, then think about how to take what you love academically to the next level.
We work with our clients to help them articulate their academic interests then go above and beyond in that area of scholarship. This is not just in the name of “getting in” but to push our students to explore, go further, learn, experiment, focus and thrive. Once we teach our students the tools for exploring their academic interests and excelling in their targeted fields of interest, they go on to leverage these tools in their lives (in college, graduate school, and beyond). Our students earn competitive fellowships and grants upon acceptance to and throughout college, gain acceptance into some of the top graduate programs in the world, and later use the tactics and tools we’ve taught them to obtain intellectually challenging and rewarding jobs post-graduation.
So, ask yourself:
- What do I love to do so much so that when I am doing it, time seems to stand still? Is it learning a new computer language, reading science fiction, looking at the stars? Come up with 5 things you love to learn about, do, talk about and share with others. This is the beginning of exploring the brand called YOU.
- How can I deepen then share this interest? Write an article in my local paper, start a club around this topic, attend a conference focusing on this material?
- How can I move to demonstrate to colleges (or graduate school programs as the case may be) the fact that I am already a scholar with a developed research foundation and the academic skills required of leaders in my targeted field of interest. It used to be that students headed to doctoral programs needed to demonstrate the existence of a research and publishing foundation in their applications. Things have changed. We now push our students applying to college and applying to Masters programs to also recognize and plan for the reality that top candidates are articulating their scholarly and research/publishing-related aptitudes very early on. So, HOW can you take action to further establish your academic brand? Note the following.
- An academic journal to which high school students can submit their work to be reviewed and (hopefully!) published = The National High School Journal of Science.
- An academic conference where college students can submit a proposal for presentation at the conference = The Mathematical Association of American’s Math Fest August 7-9, 2014 in Portland. Abstract proposals due 4-30-14!
- An academic conference that high school students and college students can attend = The Moravian Writer’s Conference June 6-8, 2014 in Bethlehem, PA. The Moravian Writers’ Conference offers opportunities to work with accomplished faculty–established and emerging writers and publishing professionals–through workshops, craft talks, readings, and more.
- 3 examples of fully online college courses (with no prerequisites or permission requirements) that you can take this summer 2014 to earn 3 college credits from UMass Boston
- Course called “Demographics and Economics of Aging”
- Course called “American History Before 1877”
- Course called “Introduction to Computers and Information Systems”
So, begin creating your personal brand. Ponder your passion, determine how to deepen and share your academic interests, and start building and framing your research foundation! Making a move to ensure your branding base is in place is a terrific way to rise above the rest in college admissions, grad school admissions, and the job market.