• William Watson-Canning

Don't Be Like Most Students

"How did you spend your last two summers?"

Stanford University traditionally asks that question, and other top schools ask variations. It's the type of question a student might expect to encounter at an interview, and for good reason. Exceptional students use their unstructured time wisely to develop new skills and reach out to others.

"How did you spend the spring of 2020?"

We do not know for sure how schools will adjust their applications in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, but it will not surprise any of us in the admissions game when students will be asked to reflect upon this period of time.

Right now, nobody can engage in the types of activities that used to be standard. Athletic teams have shutdown. Orchestras have gone quiet.

What if you were one of the rare students who figured out how to do something special during this time? Of course, your first priority must be your own health and the health of the people you love. But being "distant" does not have to be the same as being isolated. What new skill can you learn? Who can you reach out to using the modern communication tools we now have at our disposal?

Most students are using this time as downtime. By all means, catch up on your sleep and take time to enjoy yourself as much as you can. Then start thinking about what you can do. The best advice for standing out from the crowd when it comes time for your applications? Don't do the same thing as everybody else in the crowd.

You've got this!

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