Applying to college is not much different than selling a product. This may seem like an odd statement, but I will explain. Let’s start with an example. Compare Walmart and Safeway. What are the characteristics that you associate with each company? What does each represent? What is the shopping experience like? What kinds of shoppers can be found in each store?
People have different assumptions associated with brands due to their characteristics. Like in our Walmart vs. Safeway example, one person might prefer Walmart for its helpful employees and product deals, while another person may prefer Safeway for its low prices and product variety. But, how does this relate to the college admissions process?
As a college-bound student, you are trying to show colleges a picture of who you are, the values you represent, and the role you will play in their college community. You are the product. Your target colleges are the customers. Much like our Walmart vs. Safeway example, it is essential to explain what makes you different (and better) than the competition.
Easier said than done, I know. The first step is to go over your resume. Do you have an academic or extra-curricular passion? Next, think about the events that have impacted your intellectual and character development. Maybe being a military brat has given you an appreciation for global cuisine, or maybe you spent summers bonding with your grandfather and learning life skills while fly fishing. If those don’t get you started, think about the impact you want to have on the world. What problem do you want to help solve? Focus on your strengths and the combination of passions, interests, talents, and skills that are uniquely you. Show the admissions counselors why you are the “best buy.”
Although having a personal brand may sound calculated, it’s really just a way to describe who you are at your core. Be honest in your application and let your passions shine through.