College: How do I get there?


College Counseling Board of Acceptances, The Village School

What do you need to do to get into the highest-ranking universities in the US? That’s the golden question for millions of high school students across the country. For the majority, being an academically high-performing student is simply not enough. It often comes down to the extracurricular activities undertaken during high school and accomplishments outside of the classroom. What about students that have had a non-traditional learning path with frequent moves? I had the unique opportunity to interview both Ms. Bridgette Adiukwu and Ms. Auna Hearne, college counselors here at The Village School, to learn what it takes to get into a top-tier university. 


“They (admissions offices)  want (you) to show that you seem interested (in your activities), and that it’s something that you’re actually passionate about. That can be determined in many ways, by years of involvement, by leadership positions, and also, if you’re able to talk about it. Then they want to be able to connect, you need to be able to connect those dots to who you are. Like, if you’re really passionate about community service, hopefully, you’re able to express that in your application in some way.” said Adiukwu. 


It’s clear that passion is a crucial part of the activities that you undertake. If you don’t care for what you will spend hours of your week doing, you are likely not going to show growth in that activity, another crucial element of what admissions look for.


“I think that they are looking for students to be committed to, I would say, about three to four activities instead of just like a laundry list, just doing things just to be doing things. They’re looking for, like that demonstrated commitment over time.  A student may start in the ninth grade as just a member, and then possibly in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, develop some leadership. So, I really think that they want to see some growth, and some commitment to three to four things,” said Hearne.  


Don’t overload yourself with activities that you think will look good on an application. What matters is that you excel in small-area activities and demonstrate commitment and even leadership. Leadership can take a number of forms, often unexpected. 


“There are different ways to be a leader, you can be a leader as an individual contributor, just by doing your best just by supporting your teammates or your classmates or whoever’s involved in your organization. I think people can approach leadership in different ways. You don’t necessarily have to hold office. There are events, there are committees that you can share. I think that there are different ways to be a leader and real people should approach that a little bit differently and just find a way to be uniquely there for their organization,” said Hearne. 


Don’t be discouraged if you are reading this and feel that you haven’t done enough, or haven’t had the opportunity to show commitment and leadership in an activity. Many students at the Village School move during their high school years. I myself attended three high schools in three countries. 


“I’ve had students before, where they attended like three, or even four high schools during their high school career. For most of them, it seemed like they found one thing, and it may have been an academic interest. So they were passionate about Policy and International Relations.  Maybe they did some type of Model UN-esque program, at each of the schools,” said Adiukwu. “I think that that’s an easier avenue for them to join. You see the same thing with people who are committed to sports, even though sometimes that’s more challenging to keep consistent. If you’re moving schools a lot. I would also recommend an academic interest. If you are really passionate about computer science or math, you can join a math honor society or something. Almost every school would have something like that.”


There is no one answer as to what you should do as an extracurricular to guarantee admission. Everyone is different, so embrace what is uniquely.. you!  Show commitment, strive for excellence, and be a leader.