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From Hobby to Acceptance Letter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Finding pages full of statistics about perfect test scores, high GPAs, and impressive extracurriculars can put a damper on any eager college applicant's excitement. But I believe that you can get into your dream college – even without finding a cure for cancer. It will take everything you have, but if you have passion and determination, you can achieve the seemingly impossible.

People are going to say that to get into your top school you need to focus on your grades, your SAT or ACT scores, and your extracurriculars. While I agree with that, I also believe that most people are rejected because they do not have the single most important aspect of an application: a theme. What I mean by that is, essentially, a passion. More and more colleges are looking for proof of a student's thoroughness and dedication, and by creating a central theme to weave through your extracurriculars and essays, you can give those admissions officers what they want while still staying true to yourself.

To begin, first think of your passion. Everybody has at least one, whether it is something as popular as soccer, as seemingly trivial as watching Netflix, or as simple as drinking coffee. Ask yourself what you would spend all your free time doing if you were given the choice, or what you would research and blog about if you had to choose one topic.

Then comes the task of finding ways to infuse your passion into your activities at school. For those whose focus is a sport, getting involved is easy. But say your passion is more obscure, like watching Netflix (and when I say that, I mean you should be a genuine Netflix connoisseur). There are many ways to get involved at school, but if your passion is unusual you may have to be creative. Taking advantage of clubs or the student paper is a good place to start. School is an easy platform to find leadership opportunities. This last step is the most important one, because it is where you can truly take your theme outside the box and stand out to college admissions officers.

You need to channel your passion into an extracurricular activity. Going back to my Netflix example, you could find a magazine or website that reviews TV shows and movies and become a writer for it. Or you could join a children's mentorship program, helping kids find television shows that are educational and fun. You could start a film festival for charity, or find some sort of internship related to media. Create your own TV show, even, or volunteer at a retirement home and help residents find their next favorite television program. The most impressive accomplishments happen when someone has true passion and shows dedication to it.

Putting your own thematic twist on typical volunteer activities is how you will really impress those college admissions officers, because what you are doing is showing them that you are so passionate about your topic that you will find any possible way to share it with others. And whatever decision you get from your dream college, if you have worked to develop your passion, you will never look back with regret. You may even have changed the world with something you truly love.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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theblondechickThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 27 at 12:27 pm:
This was very helpful! Thanks!
 
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