Admissions Secret: Character Counts

Case Study:  Two similarly qualified students applied to a well-regarded college.  Both applications were solid, but neither was extraordinary.  Both candidates were “qualified.”  Now, check out the application essays.
Candidate #1 took a self-confident approach and modestly boasted about this academic and extra-curricular achievements.  He wrote that he was proud to have “taken advantage” of many opportunities and elaborated about what he gained from his experiences.
Candidate #2 positioned herself as a team player, a respected student, and a community volunteer who organized worthwhile projects and inspired others to get involved.   She wrote about the key challenges she faced and how she dealt with them.  She came across as genuine, thoughtful, and caring.
Both applications were read and discussed by members of the admissions committee.   Candidate #1 was referred to as a “taker,” while Candidate #2 was called a “giver.”
One of the two candidates was admitted.   Can you guess which one?
College admissions officers have a preference for “givers” — applicants who contribute to the world around them.   There are two key reasons.  “Givers” generally are considered more likely to positively contribute to the experience of other students on campus, both in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities.   Also, many admissions people think of themselves as “givers” and are more comfortable with people with similar values.



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