Prep School Applicants: Feature Your Strengths!

The last few weeks, we’ve received a cluster of questions regarding prep schools and how to use athletics as a tool for admission to the prep school and, then, how to use the prep school athletic experience as part of the college admission process. In specific cases involving scholarship caliber athletes, the answers and approaches to these questions prove very focused.

But, the notion of highlighting one’s talents and interests applies to all prep school applicants.

The questions become, what interests do you have beyond school and academics; how do you want to use them to contribute to your community; and, how can your school nurture your growth?

Around my and my wife’s offices we call these application “hooks.” These are pieces of your application and yourself that differentiate you from other applicants. High quality hooks can help an application stay on the top of and admission officer’s desk or, lacking a good hook, an application can, conversely, fall to the floor.

How do you use and present these interesting pieces of yourself?

In the case of the division 1 scholarship athlete above, this student needs to attend a school that plays very high caliber basketball as well as provides proper growth and support in the academic and social spheres of the student’s life.

This student will pursue admission to prep schools that field high caliber basketball programs.

Being realistic, we’re not all great athletes. But many of us possess and practice talents that can help us grow as individuals and enrich our community fabrics. You must display and make your talents and interests known during the admission process.

You might get to express you interests through and application question. You might talk about your interests as part of the admission interview. You might write about your culinary talents in your application essay. You might tell an admission officer about a work experience during your on-campus interview. Highlight and talk about what interests you.

In making one’s interests known as part of the admission process, rule number is honesty. Do not create an interest that you don’t have; don’t pad your application profile.

Beyond highlighting your interests and talents when answering the obligatory questions as part of school interview and application questions, you might ask to visit with a music teacher as part of your campus tour and interview. Sit through a drama rehearsal. Watch a game or practice of a particular sport. Meet with a coach; meet with the choir director. Attend a performance if possible.

If none of the big events are scheduled when you visit a campus, ask to meet with the teacher or faculty advisor or coach of the groups or team that interests you. Try to visit with students and teachers in all of these instances. You’ll be able to get a feel for commitment and passion for the activity.

Best of all, you’ll be on your way to building bonds and making contributions to the school that you will call home.

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