The Myth of the Well-Rounded Student

A popular question I oftentimes get asked is:

Does a student have to be well-rounded to get accepted into a great school?

The answer may surprise you: No.

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page and start off with a definition. “Well-rounded” is the term typically used to describe someone who has strong test scores, grades, and a list of various extracurricular activities.

The problem with assuming this is the golden ticket to getting into a great school is that colleges are not only looking for well-rounded students. They’re looking to create a well-rounded class — a group of students who represent various backgrounds, strengths, and interests.

Of course, good test scores, grades and extracurricular activities are important, but they’re not enough to differentiate one student from another.

So, what does a student need instead?

An angle.

What makes that student different? A passion for art? A spirit of entrepreneurship? A track record of overcoming obstacles and succeeding?

It’s important for students to reflect on what they’re passionate about and what their strengths are.

Exploring these passions and strengths (and making sure to journal the experience along the way) will help a student figure out what makes them different — and how to stand out from thousands of other applicants.

Wonder how the admissions process works?

Enroll in my next live workshop for for high school students and their parents. In this class I’ll walk you through a sample student college application and the process of a holistic review. It’ll be highly interactive, so you’ll want to join live if possible.

I understand that you’re busy and might not be able to join live, so the replay will be available for a limited time, but only if you sign up.

Hope to see you there!


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