Archive for September, 2010
Top notch grades? Check.
Fabulous SAT scores? Check.
Extracurriculars out the wazoo? Check.
Full scholarship to the college of my dreams? Not so fast.
All that may not be enough anymore. How do I know? Take this example. Betty and Veronica both had excellent full-scholarship potential. They were interested in many of the same schools. They both went on numerous campus visits, identified their top picks and started the process for admission.
Veronica identified her top 3 picks, then applied for admission and scholarships to those and about 5 other “safety” schools. She then breathed a sigh of relief and waited for the acceptance letters and full scholarships to fill her mailbox.
Veronica got accepted at them all. And the money? Not there. A few minor financial aid offerings, but nothing substantial. Veronica and her parents were stunned. How could this happen? She did everything right, had an exemplary high-school career and practically glowed on her applications. What went wrong?
Let’s take a look at Betty’s approach.
Betty also identified her top 3 picks and applied to those and a few other safety schools. Then she switched into high gear. She visited her top 3 schools a second time to narrow her decision even further. She kept in touch with the admissions counselors via email and asked additional questions. She identified Vandaly University as her top pick, then made it very clear to the admissions counselor that she wanted to attend. She discussed why she felt an education at Vandalay would help her fulfill her goals. And how she was anxious to be an active part of the university community.
Can you guess the result? Betty received one of 5 full scholarships to her dream school — Vandalay University.
It’s not enough anymore to have the grades and the SAT scores. A lot of students have that. Instead, get noticed:
1. Adopt a “what’s in it for them” attitude. What will I bring to the school? How will I use my experiences after I graduate to become an asset to my community?
2. Be candid. We all have flaws, and it’s not shameful to admit them. If you’re a procrastinator, demonstrate how you’ll use your college experience to improve in this area.
3. Follow up. Send a note to those you met on campus (email is fine, but a handwritten note really stands out.) Be specific about what you remembered most from your conversations. Highlight what you like best about the school. Be professional, but not overly formal. You want them to remember you as someone with personality.
4. Keep in touch. A short email every few weeks or so ensures they don’t forget you. What to say? Have you done any job shadowing or community service? Share some highlights.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. And all of this can easily apply to a job search as well. Do you have tactics that have worked well for you?
We all have a network of some kind. Family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances. But how well do we nurture these networks?
Think about it. How many times have you heard from someone only when they need something? Or worse, a complete stranger sent to you by a friend who emails you a cryptic message saying, “Hey, Joe gave me your name. If you hear of any job leads, can you send them my way?”
Unfortunately, I face this on a regular basis. I treasure my network, and I nurture it well. It’s a lot of work. And people who don’t respect that raise my blood pressure.
That’s where this blog comes in. If you’re looking to build a network or strengthen the on you have, join me as we learn to “work it.”