Back in 1930, a lady named Ruth Wakefield made a discovery that’s worth billions today.
While making cookies for her guests at the inn she and her husband owned, Ruth realized she was out of the baker's chocolate she normally used to make her favorite cookies.
She decided to substitute broken pieces of a semi-sweet chocolate bar she received from her friend Andrew Nestle into her Butter Drop Do cookies. What she discovered was that unlike the baker’s chocolate, the chopped up chocolate did not melt completely. Instead it only softened.
The cookie became so popular that she published the recipe in several newspapers and struck a deal with Andrew Nestle from the Nestle Chocolate Company to put the recipe on the back of their chocolate bar. To make it easy for people to make the cookie, Nestle even included a small chopper in their package.
The Inn that Ruth and her husband owned was called the "Toll House Inn." The cookies she invented that day are known as "Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies" and they’ve helped Nestle grow into $270+ billion brand known around the world.
Standing out Today the chocolate chip cookie is the most popular type of cookie in America. It’s estimated that seven billion chocolate chip cookies are eaten annually and that half of all the cookies baked in American homes are chocolate chip cookies. There are even companies worth millions, like the Great American Cookie Company, that have been built entirely around the chocolate chip cookie.
That’s AMAZING when you really think about it!
Even with thousands of cookie recipes out there, the chocolate chip cookie recipe eighty-plus years later is still the most popular cookie around.
Just imagine coming up with a winning recipe like that for yourself. What impact would it make on your children’s future college plans? On your career? And, in your life in general?
Developing a winning recipe for college Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year at the college level recruiting the best and brightest students. Now notice what I just said here. I didn’t say that colleges recruit the brightest students only. They also look for those who are the best at something. Being the best, and demonstrating that you are outstanding in some unique way, is also a key ingredient in the recipe for success.
What goes into the recipe of YOU will help make you a favorite at the college of your dreams. So here are a few favorite “ingredients” colleges have paid top dollar for year after year. Use them to make your students as irresistible as a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies and enjoy the satisfaction a winning recipe provides for you!
Be smarter than the average bear. Colleges want to see that students have challenged themselves in high school and that they’ve risen to the occasion with good grades in rigorous classes. There’s a fine line between protecting GPA and loading up with AP and Honors classes. I talked about balancing rigor and GPA in a previous article, so go check that out if you haven’t seen it yet. Have your students set some goals and push themselves to do the best work of which they’re capable. It may be hard for them, but it’s worth it!
Spend your time wisely. Colleges can easily see how well your students have done in school, what their SAT or ACT scores are, and how much rigor they’ve taken. Those are definitely important factors in the admission process for most universities, but there’s another element that can be just as critical, especially at some of the most prestigious universities and Honor Colleges in the country. Colleges want to see how your students spend their free time.
A college will look to see if students used their time and energy to play sports, march in the band, work a job, or serve others through volunteer activities? They want to know if a student has been dedicated to something bigger than themselves, or did they just skim the surface through participation in a few clubs and sporadic events during high school? Having your student spend quality hours now doing something productive with their time can earn them a great scholarship later. Successful always people do more than what is required, right? Of course. So teach your children the value of being creative, committed, and extraordinary with how they spend their time.
Aspire to become great. So many people focus on having things and doing things without thinking enough about who they want to become. Studies show that those who aspire to become great first tend to have the greatest things and do the greatest things in life also, so it makes sense to help your students work on that part now.
Colleges, like everyone else, will be attracted to people whose lives are founded on principles of integrity, hard work, selfless compassion, and courageous determination. In fact, most colleges even show you what they value most in a table that’s included in the Common Data Set. It’s a report they create for the Department of Education and it details what attributes they consider most important in the college admissions process. When you look at that information for each college, you find things like character traits, extracurricular activities, leadership, and work experience on their list of ideal attributes.
Have your students find opportunities to develop these universally valued character traits in their life and embrace the experiences they gain to refine themselves. They’ll make great connections and collect a wealth of material to use in essays and interviews for their college applications. Plus, they’ll become a more interesting, well rounded person as they learn to have a healthy perspective on life and towards other people. Colleges will recognize their maturity and reward them generously for daring to be different.
Every student is unique and because of that, everyone has something valuable to share with their future college community and with the world. Determine what you can add to your student’s mix of academic and extracurricular activities, as well as to their character, that will make them exceptional.
Just like Ruth Wakefield did with her cookies, you may just find the perfect recipe that makes them irresistible to people everywhere and leaves them wanting more. And that’s a winning recipe for life no one can resist!