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College Applications: A Case Study (Pt.1)

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

How to make the most out of your application to persuade admissions officers

After being accepted into colleges the spring of my senior year in high school, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought I’d never have to see another application ever again. Oh how wrong I was.

When it was around the spring of my freshman year in college, I soon realized going to school in the city meant spending a lot of money. Not that I was burning through my cash going drinking or going shopping in SoHo, but just buying food, one of life’s necessities, was chipping away at my checking account like a woodpecker on mute. I went online and tried furiously to look for jobs, dismayed at how so many of them required cover letters. Being the smart college student I was, I created a generic template which I could then switch words in and out depending on the company I was applying for. I submitted maybe 60 applications that spring, feeling pretty pleased with myself and waiting for those interview offers to come rolling in.

Credit: mars.com

Except none of them responded, save one or two, and thank goodness I was able to get hired at those places that summer. At first, I just shrugged it off, thinking that no one really wanted to hire freshmen. Looking back on it now in my junior year of college and after finishing my marketing major, I realized how flawed my approach was to applying for jobs and even for applying to colleges back in high school. I realized that one incredibly obvious but easily overlooked concept was that when you apply for something, you’re selling yourself. You yourself are a product, a service, a brand that you’re trying to convince other people that will provide value to them.

Even aside from marketing concepts, let’s look at it from the perspective of an Econ 101 class. When you apply to a school or a job, supply is high and demand is low. Getting rejected isn’t always a matter of fairness; a college or employer only has so many spaces they can accommodate, especially a small business which may only be looking for one new employee. Why is supply high? It’s because as special and unique we think we all are, there’s thousands and thousands of people just the same on paper. If you don’t try hard enough to differentiate what exactly sets you apart, you’re asking admissions officers and employers to choose you arbitrarily out of many others with similar experiences and skills, and need the position just as much as you do.

Granted, what I’m talking about applies to both school and job applicants, but I’d like to focus on marketing yourself or your children during the college admissions process first, since that’s something I feel more qualified talking about.

Thanks for reading, watch out for part 2!



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