No One Cares About You Except Your Mom
This post is to encourage the selfish folks out there to be unselfish. (Don’t worry, there is a future payoff behind it that will be revealed.)
But how do you get them to see that you are a match made in heaven?
(Hint: You don’t start by putting yourself on a pedestal….at least not until you find out what kind of pedestal is most attractive to them and why)
Be unselfish: how can you help the school win?
Successful salespeople spend lots of time at the beginning to understand what their customers need and what desirable outcome the customer would like to see. They know that customers open their wallets not so Johnny can hit his monthly sales quota, but instead because of how that pearl necklace surprise gift will make the wife feel so loved and cherished. It’s all about the customer. That unselfishness comes from a buyer-centric perspective.
The same applies to university admissions. Do you think colleges honestly care one bit that you “really, really, really want to attend Harvard,” or even that you literally have the highest IQ west of the Mississippi River? If you think that, do not pass “Go” and do not collect $200.
Of course they don’t care about you personally, or any of those things about you…unless if, for example, your being a genius will lead to a Nobel Prize and bring glory to the university. If you want colleges to help you by admitting you, then first help them by finding out what’s in it for them.
Knowing how they benefit will show you how to promote yourself
That’s how you’ll know what to highlight about yourself. That’s how you make your story resonate the best with admissions officers. When you know your significant other loves wine and you plan next month’s surprise birthday celebration at a venue known for its great selection of imported wines, you know that’s going to hit the spot.
Too many students are worried about the micro details of what schools look for in applicants, such as “Are they going to care that I have 4 APs but an open period my senior year?” or “What extracurricular activities will look most attractive to Princeton?”
Instead of taking that selfish view, try to understand how the university is looking to benefit from a macro level. Are they trying to become more diverse? Are they trying to boost their reputation in terms of scientific research? Then align yourself with that.
Too often people think about things from only the perspective of “How do I get what I want?” whereas even from a selfish standpoint, they’re better served helping others get what they want, as that’s how they will most effectively influence others. That applies not only to the college admissions process, but to life in general.
If people would stop being so selfish, they would actually have more success fulfilling their selfish desires.