Building your College Profile

Posted by Neal Schwartz on April 02, 2021



Building Your College Profile

Tips for Current Sophomores and Juniors

photos courtesy of Union College

High school students have been enormously impacted by the pandemic this year, and last. With activities interrupted, distance learning and disruptions to the testing industries, the mental, emotional and physical burden that teenagers have been facing is unprecedented. However, while the toll of the pandemic has demotivated many, high school Sophomores and Juniors shouldn’t lose sight of the future. While many students have had their plans completely dismantled, now is the time to refocus and bring new energy to constructing a college profile.

When it comes to building your college profile, the work needs to start early. While adolescence is a time of confusion and experimentation, it is also a time where commitment to a few key goals can really pay off. Starting Sophomore year, students can already begin crafting their resumes and projecting themselves as future college students, even if that future is unclear. Here are some tips to get the process started.

working at a computer                                                                                                                                 

Think about your core values.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in listing off to colleges everything that you’ve done, but that gets superficial very quickly. Instead, start with this values exercise. By thinking about your top values, you can more easily link them to anecdotes that represent these values, which can end up being excellent fodder for essays. Your core values should also be able to explain the activities and courses you choose to take.

Don’t over-explain.

At the same time, not everything in your college profile has to be intellectual and deep. Be sure to leave room in your profile for spontaneity, humor and uniqueness. If you try to justify every last activity with an explanation, it could end up seeming forced or inauthentic. If you can’t explain why you love some obscure passion, don’t try to overdo it!

Don’t follow the crowd.

You might think that there’s a magic formula for how many APs, extracurriculars and volunteer opportunities you must pursue to be deemed a “well-rounded” profile. While staying open-minded and trying new things, try to get away from the pressure to be “well-rounded”. You’re not supposed to fall in love with everything you do, so find those few things and do them well.

Avoid “I don’t know,” even if you don’t know.  

College admissions officers and guidance counselors know that teenagers going through the application process may not be 100% sure of their path. It’s absolutely normal, even more so given the current conditions. However, sometimes making a decision about a major or a career choice will be beneficial, rather than a big “I don’t know,” because any choice, even if it’s not definitive, will indicate to the school that you’re fixed on a certain goal. There is always time to change majors later on, but you need to come in with a clear angle.

Don’t take advice from too many people.

 At the end of the day, what will make a student’s profile special is the very fact that it is crafted by the student. While advice and second opinions are certainly helpful, you must limit and file through the comments that are really useful to you. Don’t worry about being perfect. Colleges do not want perfect. They want students that can benefit from new experiences and education.

When building your college profile, trust your gut. But if you need a hand to get started,   give us a call to schedule a free consultation today!


Best Regards,

Neal Schwartz, Owner

College Planning of Westchester  

Best Regards,

Neals Signature single thick

Neal Schwartz, Owner

College Planning of Westchester

                                                                                                                                            photos shown above courtesy of Union College 

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, college selection, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search, values exercise, high school sophomore, college essay guy, college application, volunteering, student resume, Union College


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