Who Am I (On Paper)?

January 25, 2019

Who Am I (On Paper)? 

Although it may not seem so when you look out the window, spring is just around the corner! Try to remember that the sun is setting a little later every day, even if it's wet and freezing outside. 

As you keep that thought in mind, take stock of what the warmer months of the year will look like for you. If you are a junior, this means what courses you are taking, and how you plan to spend your final summer as a high school student. What clubs are you a part of? Can you bid for leadership roles? 

Once you've given that a think, take a moment to write it all down: courses, clubs, summer experience, sports, etc. How does it all add up? What do you look like on the page?  We won't attempt to ask you WHO you are — we'll all spend our lives on that question — but the dead of winter is a *great* time to wonder how you are coming across on paper. 

Next year, when you fill out college applications, like it or not, you'll be asked to define yourself and your interests so that admissions committees can see how you will potentially fit into the Class of 2024. It's one thing to state your interests, but it's another to back that up with a resume. As you take stock of what your grades and affiliations add up to, ask yourself if it's what you will want to present to an admissions committee.

For example, if your passion is biology, have you taken all of the science courses you can? Have you maybe looked into summer courses or internships that correlate with your academic interests? Are you a member of clubs that back this interest up? Keep in mind, everyone should be well-rounded and it's wonderful to have a passion for bio and for Japanese documentary filmmaking, too. However, you should guard against looking too scattered and make sure that if you are able to highlight an intellectual passion of yours, that it is obvious to anyone looking at your resume or transcript. 

The reason right now is prime time to do so is that if you realize your passion does not pop up on the page, you can do something about it! You can think about a way to spend your summer or rearrange your schedule or found a club that will show an admissions officer what you care about and what you love to study. You can even approach a favorite teacher or guidance counselor or other adult familiar with the college application process to ask their thoughts or advice. 

The added bonus of taking stock of yourself in this way is that as you realize what you hope to study in college or how you can make yourself stand out during the application process, you may end up finding the perfect topic for your personal statement —  but more on that in the next post!