Starting Early: What does that exactly mean?, PART 1

Post By: COYD Staff

preparing for collegeIt’s 2011, and most of the high school seniors have submitted all of their applications. So this month we are going to focus our attention on financial aid, but before we do that, I wanted to talk specifically to high school underclassmen that have a desire to attend the college of their dreams. Starting early seems to be a common piece of advice from college counselors and admissions officers, but what does starting early mean? Below, we are going to go into 3 steps you need to take to make the best use of starting early.

First, EXPERIMENTATION. Find out who you are, what makes you tick, and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

1) Take Myers Briggs survey.

We bring up MB time and time again because we believe it is important for every person to know his or her “personality type”. Knowing your “type” not only strengthen one’s self awareness, ┬ábut it also validates personality types that are sometimes not as glorified but just as important and valuable to society and in achieving success. For instance, many times when I discuss the different personality types in Myers Briggs, students automatically say they are an E, Extrovert. Without even taking the test, they claim that they are extroverts because in their minds, they believe being outgoing is “better” than being “shy”. However, according to Myers Briggs, the definition of extroversion or introversion is not related to someone’s outgoing behavior, it actually refers to where people draw their energy. Extroverts draw energy from action and from the external world, where introverts expend energy through action and prefer reflection. Many people think that outgoing people are extroverts; however, that is the not always the case. Many outgoing people are actually introverts who have developed their extroversion side for their job or position. Introverted people have many strengths that extroverts don’t have and vice versa. Knowing your true personality “type” helps you identify how you communicate, how you react to your surroundings, how you process information, and much more. This, in turn, helps you strengthen your weaknesses and helps you determine what kind of major, career, and mate you are most compatible with.

2) Don’t be afraid to try different extracurriculars at your school.

Research all that is offered at your high school, and go online and look up different organizations around your city that have youth divisions. Do not just do what you have always been doing or what you feel comfortable doing. Your freshmen year is a great time for you to make mistakes and find an activity that you enjoy and want to get better at. Many students tend to participate in only the activities that their friends in their “clique” participate in. Those activities might be things that you enjoy, or they may not. Make sure to figure out your own interests and activities. The key to finding a good extracurricular activity in which you will become a leader by the time you are an upperclassmen is finding something that excites you and about which you are passionate.

3) Start reading more, especially current events.

Many students do not have compelling volunteer opportunities by the time they are applying to college because they don’t know what’s going in the world and don’t care to know. Admission officers look for students who demonstrate maturity and leadership. Those who don’t care about the world are not good candidates for leaders, and so in order to find what you care about the most, you need to start reading about what’s going on in the world early. Everybody’s passion is different. Find yours early and you will have a leg up over many other students.

Next post, we will discuss steps 2, 3, and 4: Discovering a purposeful goal, Creating a plan, and Implementing that plan.

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