October 14, 2019
BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
Dear Mr. Bradshaw,
Our son, who started the ninth grade this fall, was an honor student in the seventh and eighth grades. We are seeking guidance about leadership activities that we might suggest he explore as he enters his high school years.Concerned Parent
Our goal is to help him prepare for the eventual college admissions process by supporting his current interests and strengths while exposing him to projects and activities that will enhance his knowledge of career opportunities and areas of study.
Early planning for college admissions process can pay off
Dear Concerned Parent,
You are to be congratulated for being so forward thinking on behalf of your son. Early planning will most certainly reap benefits for him in the long run because his high school years will fly by. I can guarantee you that his high school courses, GPA, and activity selections will be critical to his college acceptance chances.
I have a number of thoughts.
Given the fact that this is his first year of high school he will not be familiar with how clubs are organized or what options are available at his school. I suggest that you and your son have a discussion about the activities and study areas of interest he already has in mind.
As the school year progresses, I would encourage him to “shop” the clubs that catch his attention. This process will give him an idea of what is available, and he can then build a participation strategy around his choice of activity with confidence. It is an excellent idea to encourage him to pursue extracurricular activities that may have a connection with his career aspirations. Remember that it is the quality of the involvement and not the quantity of activity that will resonate with college officials.
Down the road, should he choose to consider starting an organization in a special interest area there are a number of routes that he can take. For example, he could gather a small group of people that are all interested in the same general topic such as diversity, the environment, traveling, cultures, etc. I have found that my clients who have pursued this route even outside of the school environment, have been looked upon favorably by college admissions offices.
If he is interested in organizing a special interest group at his school, the next step would be to work with the school’s administration, faculty and staff to make sure that the activity is a “fit” with policies of the school district.
If there are community volunteer needs that might be addressed with the assistance of a student organization, this could provide a viable and visible platform for your son’s future ambitions and development of his leadership skills. College admissions offices do value community service because participation in these activities show aspects of your personality that test scores do not.
With social media today, generating interest in and recruiting members for organizations is an easier task than it once was.
We are bound only by our creativity. The important point is that any independent activity he chooses to pursue is something that he is genuinely interested in knowing more about. His curiosity and ambition will be key qualities that will allow him to grow an organization successfully.
Gerald Bradshaw is a top US college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.
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