WASHINGTON (7News) — Summer break will start sooner than you know it, but some college strategists say, go easy on the "break."
7News' anchor Adrianna Hopkins talked to Arvin Vohra, a college admissions strategist, who says eighth graders, should be using the summer to angle for top-tier schools if Ivy League is what they want.
He explains it like this: “The NFL has about 1690 active players. Princeton lets in 1600. If you’re trying to get into the NFL, you start playing football when you’re a kid, not two days before the draft. If you’re trying to get into an Ivy League college or university, you need to bring that major league mindset. Start early in an intense way.”
The summer before ninth grade, he said students should use their summer break to “do something that’s self-directed and entirely unique. In other words, it can’t be something that other people are doing. Harvard only lets in 2000 people a year, but there are 35,000 high schools in the country. That’s less than one person in 17 high schools.”
“What do you mean by completely unique?” Adrianna asked.
“Completely unique means, if you’ve heard of someone else doing it, then that’s not the right answer. I can give you examples: one student created a card game that explored a specific historical idea; another student started a small business selling origami earrings.”
“And what do you mean by self-directed?” asked Adrianna.
“That means it’s something you create, you drive, that you control every part of. If you’re working in a small position in a big lab, that’s not going to make a difference. If you are doing an expensive service trip that so many people are doing something similar, that’s not going to make a difference,” said Vohra.
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“What would you say to young people who spend their summers working to support their family or other needs? Or maybe they don’t have the financial freedom and capital to start a small business,” asked Adrianna.
“If you’re working a paid job that is necessary to help your family, that will boost your application a lot. There are very few things you can do to support your application than working to support your family,” said Vohra. “A big mistake people make is that they assume that expensive programs work better. The actual rule of thumb is this: if it’s tuition-free that actually helps you get in. If you pay tuition to get in, it doesn’t help you at all. The programs that work, don’t cost you anything. The programs you don’t pay for are research-driven. If what you’re doing over the summer is really exploring the unknown, the uncharted territory, that’s what colleges want: those explorers.”
Vohra also gave a third component of this equation: “The other is completeness. High completeness means “world fame” or impactful. Low completeness means this was an idea. You need an actual project that you do something with.”
For more information about Arvin Vohra and his college strategy, click here.