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This previous question was loaded with personal information. I generally don’t answer questions like this because it seems to get way too dependent on individual factors to give any valuable advice (no one knows a better answer than the person asking the question because they’re the only one with all the information.) To prevent confusion, I’m just going to broaden this question to hopefully help more than just this one individual.
I’ve been getting solid A’s in my high school. I’m going into senior year and I’m trying to decide how I should try to get into colleges. I’m currently thinking of going to (a better than average college) I haven’t been too good about extracurriculars. I was wondering if it would be better to focus on extracurriculars or better grades to get in. Do I need to work on either of them?
Predicting what college you’re going to get into is almost impossible unless you’re competing for a college that you’re well over qualified for. Colleges are always looking for different things. The admissions officers are humans that are heavily susceptible to stupid methodologies that you can’t control. If you need to include an essay then you can happen to offend someone with a mundane comment. College predicting is a little pointless to try and do. Try not to get your heart too set on that one college. You sound competitive based on my quick research but I’m no admissions officer.
For most students, the college you go to is significantly less important than most people makes it sound. The vast majority of employers don’t know the difference between the 100th best college in the world and the 150th best college. The only colleges that have significantly more value are the colleges that have instant worldwide name recognition. Occasionally it might help but there is good reason to doubt it’s worth stressing about.
If you want to go to that college because of personal factors then consider other colleges that have the same characteristics you’re looking for. If you have a whole list of colleges, it’s much more likely you’ll get into one of them from dumb luck (even if you happen to not meet certain expectations.)
Of course, if you want certainty to get into that individual college then you may need to work harder on either of those factors you mentioned. I can’t tell you whether academics or extra curriculars are more important but I can give a few pieces of advice.
First of all, if you prefer to do one over the other then do the one you prefer. If you want to volunteer or play a sport then you’ll at least get the pleasure of doing what you want to do, even if it doesn’t help much with your college application. If you would rather hunker down with your books longer then buckle down and do that.
Keep in mind that extracurriculars are unbelievably easy for people to BS. I’m not saying you should BS them but many students do. If you volunteer 5 hours a week and make friends with the manager then you can likely say you volunteer longer than that. If you have friends in certain fields then you can make completely BS claims.
Extracurriculars are often tools used to game colleges unwillingness to research thoroughly. There are, of course, lists of ways you can game extracurriculars without technically lying about anything.
Of course, if we know that students game extracurriculars, colleges do too. For that, they may be less valuable. It’s much harder for a student to game their grades (but I guess that’s kind of what I teach on this blog.)
Just do what you enjoy most and don’t stress about it. A good college will take you in a second. It’s best just not to be too picky.
Hold on… I’ve actually written a bunch more on this subject that you might want to read. Is An A Really Worth The Effort? Find out in the free members only section.
Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to check out the archives and follow along to get all the details. Also, check out the ebooks in the sidebar for even more secrets.
Accelerated Learning Secrets First Written About In Shakespeare’s Times Reemerging And Being Conclusively Proven In Today’s Academic Journals
Professors Karpicke of Purdue University and Roediger, III of Washington University published an incredible paper that is making waves in the top rungs of Academia.
Colleges have taken pride in their ability to train the next generation of students for decades now. By subjecting their students to intimidating reading, long and immense lectures, and rigorous and unforgiving testing, they claim to have properly trained their graduates.
But modern research methods are calling those very claims into question.
You see… what these professors have discovered (and more are joining them every day) is shaking the very foundations of academia – all of the endless hours of studying, reading books, taking notes, and listening to endless lectures… doesn’t really teach students all that much – not even preparing them for the very tests they’re using.
The exact things that colleges and many professors have been encouraging are hindering students’ abilities to learn by occupying their time with ineffective methodologies.
Effective learning isn’t rocket science either….
“Francis Bacon wrote about these effective study strategies in the 1500’s – and the research is proving that we should have been listening to the preachers of this all along,” says Aaron Richardson, founder of Smart Student Secrets, a decade old, religiously followed, website dedicated to reintroducing these strategies to modern students.
“The reality is, the average university spends 4 years lecturing a student on what they could master in 6 months or less – if they used effective strategies.”
Confronting Mr. Richardson, I grilled him on the academic defenses of our country’s historic and prestigious Universities.
R: Doesn’t the work separate the wheat from the chaff? Give them work and those that best do it are better BECAUSE they worked harder to do it. The hard work itself is the target.
A: Assuming the wheat is the people that mindlessly follow directions and don’t have better things to do with their time… sure. But I’m advocating for the creative thinkers that are willing to challenge the status quo. They’re the wheat I’m giving my tools to.
R: But colleges say your strategies help you score higher on tests but not “understand” the material in a deeper way. Any response?
A: First thing, in academia, you’re judged on your ability to pass tests and answer questions – they have no other way. By their own standards, their strategies are worse.
Second, mull on any idea for a few years longer and you’ll have a deeper understanding of it. That’s the easy part. You do it every time you take a shower. The hard part is learning enough of the component parts to be able to mull it over. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can understand it deeper.
And one more thing…
I don’t really care if they criticize because the data speaks for itself. I advocate for the data their own studies are proving. They may be able to hide the truth for a while but it’s getting out and the longer they hold out, the worse it’s going to look for them – not me.
R: Mr. Richardson you have recently published a guide outlining his effective strategies in detail. It’s called, “How To Study Happier,” and has a 4 star review from students and some reviews making some pretty impressive claims. Right?
A: I’ve dedicated my life to helping students that are like the kid I used to be. And I guarantee that my book can help you get better grades – and if you’re not 100% satisfied with the changes then I’ll refund it completely. Show me one college that will do that for you!
R: So… Mr. Richardson, I’ve heard you’ve been taking some heat from academia over your claims.
A: For legal reasons, I have to keep my mouth shut on this one. All I can say is that I can’t guarantee my content will stay available much longer. Get it now or prices will be higher for legal reasons (if I can even keep the book available.)
Now is the time to click on the link I’ll add below, fill in the boxes, and get your copy today if you’re interested.
Get your copy of How To Study Happier