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  • Jason Flurry, CFP

How To Look Like A Superhero In Your College Applications

Even superheros have to update their tactics in order to stay on top. High school students would be wise to do the same when it comes to preparing for college.


In Superman issue 13, Clark Kent quit his long-time job at the Metropolis newspaper.


Kent, Superman's alter ego, has been employed by the newspaper since the comic book series started in the 1940's.


But new Superman writer Scott Lobodell says they wanted to "explore Superman through a modern-day lens."


As far as what Kent will be doing now that he's quit--Lobodell says you are going to see him "come into his own in the next few years as far as being the guy who takes to the Internet and...starts speaking an unvarnished truth."


Lobodell also says that Kent won't be filling out an application anywhere, but instead will be "more likely to start the next Huffington Post or the next Drudge Report than he is to go find someone else to get assignments or draw a paycheck from."


It's likely that Kent will make more money being his own boss, but Clark Kent isn't the only one redefining his approach and exploring things through a different lens. Multitudes of high school students are discovering that they also need to rethink their approach to applying for college.


It's time to use your super powers!

There are more kids than ever graduating from high school and heading off to college. The Boston Globe reported earlier this year that colleges across the country are seeing record numbers of applicants – some up as high as 53% over last year’s numbers. They went on to say, “Northeastern, which said it believed it drew more applicants last year than any other private university in the country, is expected to announce that it broke its own record this year: 44,174 students applied for 2,800 spots in its incoming freshman class.”


That’s good news for the colleges, but potentially bad news for many hopeful students.

So what do you do to have a fighting chance these days? The answer is simple – prepare!

Most colleges disclose publicly what qualifications they deem “Most Valuable” in an applicant. These qualities range from your typical academic accomplishments, like GPA, SAT/ACT scores, class rank, etc, to other more personal items like character qualities, involvement in community service and other extracurricular activities, and work experience. Some even look at where you live and factor that into the mix, giving someone from an underrepresented state a potentially better chance of acceptance than someone hailing from an area where they see an abundance of applications.


Then there is the male/female factor. Most colleges have more women on campus than men, so guys have a definite advantage in the admission process. That statistic usually flips at schools known predominantly for engineering and science. In that case ladies, the odds are good, but the goods may be odd…if you know what I mean.


Finally, there are soft factors like application essays and personal interviews. These items give the applicant the opportunity to really tell their story in an influential way. The colleges who lean heavily on these factors are usually smaller and more interested in finding someone who will be the right fit for their community. Just think about it - your personal qualities and experiences make a much bigger impact there than they will at a college with tons of students.


Okay, I understand now. What do I do with all of this information?

Your job is to research all of these components and discover what each college envisions as their ideal applicant. Then, assuming you have enough time left, you reverse engineer your student’s profile to be that perfect prospect. If it’s high grades or test scores they want, get some tutoring help. If it’s service hours, get involved in your community. You get the idea…

While none of this is a sure fire way to guarantee yourself admission into the college of your dreams, it is your best, most effective way to improve your chances for success. You simply have to work harder to be more competitive, but the rewards are worth the effort!


Not all of us can wear the famous “S” on our chest like Superman, but we can look like a superhero in the eyes of the college admission officers with a sound plan of action. If you haven’t brought your approach into the modern world yet, get started on your new path today. Your future depends on it!

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