As university application deadlines approach for many of us seniors, we’ll be sharing our insights for all high school students on application writing—as well as important advice regarding high school and leadership skills that can help YOU stand out.
What soft or hard skill do you think is most essential for a leader to learn?
Katrina: Problem-solving skills are important for leaders because a leader’s objective is to assist a group of people working towards a solution or goal. As a means of reaching that goal, I can tell you that as a leader, you will face challenges and need the ability to adapt quickly in order to fulfill your responsibilities. For example, this year, in order for me to follow through with candy gram fundraisers, I needed to problem-solve to create a more covid-friendly system for distribution. Alongside a problem-solving mindset, strong leaders are able to reflect and learn from their experiences—both from strengths and weaknesses. By reflecting, leaders are able to improve their performance in the future. Lastly, I would like to emphasize that problem-solving is needed beyond logistics/planning. In a sense, problem-solving is something that you are constantly doing when you’re communicating or collaborating with others.
What advice would you give to yourself when you were just starting high school?
Victoria: My advice would be to have the courage to put yourself out there! In grades nine and ten, I felt really intimidated and would often avoid the cafeteria, school events, and refrain from joining any club or sports teams. Only later on did I realize how valuable it was to immerse myself within the school community. Taking steps outside of your comfort zone can definitely be scary—especially in a new and unfamiliar environment—but the experiences you gain are worth it! Join clubs and activities that interest you, and do not let the fear of failure hold you back. You will also be surprised how easy building connections and forming friendships with your peers and teachers can be. Another tip of mine is to explore as much as you can; discover your interests, meet new people, and find what you are passionate about. High school is your time to experiment, so do not be afraid to make mistakes, face challenges, and seek new perspectives. And finally, I would remind myself to have enjoyed the experience! As you might hear many seniors say, four years will go by extremely quickly, and my biggest wish for all students is that they walk out with as many memories, friendships, and experiences as possible.
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How do you write good applications?
Sara: I believe that the key to writing good applications is following the requirements of the position or program. This helps greatly as you can appropriately tailor your responses to show the admissions team exactly why you are a stellar candidate for the program. Make sure to write keywords and phrases that are outlined in the position or program description and connect them to your skills, strengths, talents, and past experiences. By illustrating how you reflect the organization’s values and mission, you show that you are the best fit for the position. Also, an exceptional application, in my opinion, is not one that lists achievements in a braggadocious fashion but rather one that describes how the applicant has grown from those experiences. Explain the ways in which you grew (i.e. what skills you exercised, what skills you developed, and what lessons you learned). Lastly, I know for a fact that when reviewing applications for the R2AC team, I give paramount importance to passion. Passion assures me that the candidate is truly motivated and will work diligently at R2AC. In application responses, ensure that you demonstrate your fervent enthusiasm for the organization’s purpose. This will make you a very attractive candidate. Good luck!
Image is courtesy of Wix
Article Contributors: Katrina Artes, Victoria Huang, Sara Gehlaut
Article Editors: Edie Whittington, Stephanie Sahadeo