Written By Melinda Sewak
It’s the age-old question, common to college applications and interviews alike: why are you the best fit?
If you’re anything like me, that question may bring up all kinds of inner monologues and insecurities, all stemming from one giant question: AM I the best fit?
With the inherently competitive nature of college admissions, it’s natural to write personal statements or go into interviews with a desire to win, to be the best, and to beat out other applicants for the prize: a spot at your dream school.
The truth is, fit is a two-way street. Colleges want you to succeed, so while asking whether or not you’re the best choice for their incoming freshman class, they also want to ensure that they are the best fit for you. It can be difficult to keep this in mind when so much of the admissions process may feel like a quest to be the best, but applying for colleges is just as much a search for dream students as it is for dream schools.
So if college admissions are really about you, what is the best way to stick out? What makes up a dream student? Is it top grades, leadership roles, varsity sports, and above-average test scores? Maybe, in part, but the best thing you’ve got going for you is pretty singular: it’s you.
Perhaps it sounds intuitive, but there’s something about the beast that is college admissions (especially in the middle of a pandemic!) that makes it easy to forget that you are your biggest asset. Your quirks, your particulars, and your uniqueness are more interesting than any elaborate story you could fabricate in the hopes of dazzling a college admissions counselor. Turns out, we as humans consistently undervalue our uniqueness. We go out looking to be what friends, family, and colleges want us to be, and to varying degrees diminish our biggest selling point: what makes us uniquely US.
So consider this your February pep talk: there is space for you. There is space for you to succeed, to contribute, and to thrive. Leverage what makes you unique. Tap into your life experiences, your background, and your interests, however different or uninteresting they may seem; they’re nuanced and they’re important and they matter. High school has helped give you the fundamentals–now take that foundation of learning, connect it to your tremendous inherent worth as an applicant, and apply to colleges with the belief that you belong, because you DO.
You’ve got this.