As I settle into a kind of routine, there are a few questions that I hear from students and parents again
and again. The most important one being, “what do universities look for in an ideal candidate?”
There are no shortcuts to this answer. I cannot in my right conscience give you a checklist to tick off and
say that this is what is going to get you into a university. The people who are giving you a checklist are
misguiding you, and should not be trusted completely.
What universities look for is passion, individuality and a commitment towards your dreams. This can be
demonstrated in different ways. There are no cookie cutter essays, there are no shortcuts and there is no one easy route. My advice to students, not just for university applications but in life, is to EMBRACE your individuality. CELEBRATE what makes you unique. When you do these two things, the passion and commitment will reflect in your essays, in your applications and in your interviews. Just because you are choosing a major in a certain subject, does not mean that you need to ignore your other interests and other passions. You can be a Computer Science major with a food blog, a Theatre major with an interest
in developing apps. The possibilities are numerous and endless.
There is a thought provoking book, Embracing Your Potential, by Terry Orlick that will challenge you to
live your life fully and perform to your potential. This book provides the practical steps to accomplish this and by doing so prevents what Orlick calls the greatest tragedy in life – to die without ever having fully lived. According to Orlick, life consists of two zones, the green zone and the gold zone. The gold zone is our life within our work or performance domain, the green zone is the rest of our life. The secret to excelling in the green zones and gold zones of life is to free your mind, body and spirit to enter the right zone at the right time. Green without gold doesn’t allow us to reach our performance potential. Gold without green doesn’t allow us to reach our human potential. We need both. Embracing your life is
choosing to embrace more moments, absorbing yourself in them and finding something positive within them. It is a perspective we can choose to carry or ignore. The advantage of choosing to live each moment is that you free yourself to truly live your experiences, find joy within different parts of your life and embrace ongoing growth.
Going to college is about pursuing the things that make you want to wake up in the morning and say that I’m so glad that this is my life. Create a life that is wonderful and multidimensional and full of surprises, wander and amazement and you’re one step closer to becoming who you want to be.