What Activities Do College Admissions Value (Part 2: Leadership and Entrepreneurship)


When Student J.R. came to us, she was a high-flying student with a broad range of interests from social justice to medicine. A trilingual American citizen studying and living in Taiwan, we knew that Student J.R. possessed certain qualities and academic bonafides that would get her into a top school. But, which school did Student J.R. ’s passions and eclectic interests truly mesh well with? Additionally, how could Student J.R. differentiate herself from the field by excelling in ways outside of just the classroom? These were our primary challenges.


With a high GPA, APs, and good scores in a few IB classes, Student J.R. was a highly well-rounded student. Outside of school, Student J.R. was a devoted athlete and musician, but she did not have pointed academic activities that proved her dedication to academia outside of school classrooms. As such, we were faced with a conundrum: which academic subjects would stand out on an application for Student J.R. , a student with so many interests? Moreover, we still needed to find a perfect school fit for Student J.R. .


After working with Student J.R. for a while and understanding what made her “tick,” we were able to connect Student J.R. with an animal shelter, a bio-related startup company, and a biology research project. While her scores in school spoke for themselves, it was imperative that Student J.R. boost her reach and intellectual capacities outside of school coursework. As such, we pushed her to challenge herself, and she more than succeeded. During the school research process, we finally settled on UChicago as a perfect fit for Student J.R. : intellectually daring, eclectic, interdisciplinary, and constantly questioning. Her personality and Chicago’s personality were ideal fits, and this was especially apparent in her application essays.


In the end, Student J.R. graduated from the college counseling process with a more in-depth understanding of science, the professional world, and her stated academic interests. She was also able to hold onto her original passions that she had before coming to PANO, as she is planning to minor in a social justice-related field. All in all, we were thrilled with Student J.R. ’s growth as a student and an individual, and we are happy to see her continue to grow through the next set of challenges she faces at UChicago.

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