Leadership, Part 1: What is true leadership and why it is more important than ever on a college application?

Post By: COYD Staff

I bet you have read in almost every “How to get into college” book, blog, article that more and more colleges are looking for signs of leadership in a college application. If you compare the how-to books of today with the how-to books of last decade, you will see that leadership has been increasingly more important in a college application, especially the nation’s most competitive colleges. Why do you think that is?

Like I said in a previous post, with our economy in the worst recession since the Great Depression and the talk of corrupt practices in Wall Street as one of the causes, universities are more and more focused on admitting leaders who will help the growth of our society and not hurt it. The last decade has been an eye-opener for many Americans. Incidents like Bernie Madoff, Enron and even the Adam Wheeler incident** remind admission officers that they aren’t just looking to admit the most accomplished freshmen class but the most accomplished freshmen class who will become the next leaders of their generation. They want to admit students who care about others and are not just out for themselves. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Next post, we will discuss things you must do on your application that show the leadership that admissions officers want to see, but before we do that, I want you to watch the video below. It is a talk given by Itay Talgam, a conductor who uses the performances of effective and ineffective conductors to show qualities that great leaders should and should not have.


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