"This guide is designed to teach high school students how to plan and execute an independent project that will separate one from other college applicants."
- Marianne H. Mitchell
Professor Emerita of Education, Indiana University
You’ve heard stories about high schoolers with 4.0+ GPAs and perfect SATs being rejected from Harvard or Stanford. Some of these students also have long resumes filled with extra-curricular activities and club memberships. If they can’t get in, what kind of students are these colleges looking for?
To get into selective colleges, it’s not good enough to just get good grades and score high on the SATs. Anyone can study for a test and complete the work they’re assigned. Anyone can attend club meetings or show up for practice. These things don’t stand out any more.
What these admissions committees are looking for are students who also excel outside of the high school setting, students who demonstrate true creativity, initiative, and leadership, students who show the potential to become the next John Updike or Bill Gates.
How can you convince colleges that you have this talent and potential? The best way to do it is with an independent project—not just a class project that consists simply of posters and presentations—an original undertaking outside the classroom that reflects the student’s vision, initiative, passion, and tenacity.
What could this project be? Ideally the project should reflect a student’s current passions and future aspirations. Students have started businesses, organized non-profits, written publications, produced films, conducted experiments, influenced politics, and advocated for change.
This book guides the student through the entire process of doing a college project—from brainstorming to implementation to fruition. With examples of other projects that students have completed, the students learn how to plan each step, how manage their time to get it done, and how to present it on college applications to leave admissions committees dazzled.
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