A Creative Passion's Place in the College Application Process

Anxiety Surrounding the College Application Process

When I started to think about applying to colleges many moons ago, I remember an acute sense of anxiety surrounding the efficacy of my extra-curricular activities if they were to appear on a typical deliverable like a resume or C.V. While many students spent their free time after school and in the summer attending STEM conferences, participating in robotics competitions, and gaining experience with internships in the city, I enjoyed writing songs, a competency that I felt dubious at best about typing into the activities field of the Common Application. 

Focus on Diversity

Little did I know then that each college, when selecting their newest incoming class, attempts to put forth a diverse group of young minds. Instead of accepting all of the students who meet a set standard with their deliverables and rejecting everyone else, admissions officers strive to fit applicants together like unique puzzle pieces as they attempt to build an incoming class in which students will challenge one another to grow while complementing and learning from each other’s strengths.

Empowering Creatives for the College Application Process

That’s why I’m writing this blog post, to help empower applicants with creative and/or alternative passions to count themselves as contenders for admission to their dream schools, even if they lack the more normative academic accolades of their peers. Here, we will develop a three-step guide to the college application process and for applying to schools with a core creative passion, explaining each step along the way to helping all our artists and dreamers find their new home. 

Build a Creative List of Schools – Right off the bat, if you know that you’re someone who is looking forward to continuing your creative passion in college, then you should do some research on schools that sponsor programs (both academic and extra-curricular) that fit your desire. For instance, if you are a virtuoso on the ukulele, then the absolute lowest standard for a school on your list should be a robust ukulele club with a community of students with whom you can jam. Even then, you might want to narrow your list further to schools that include a major in Music with classes on the ukulele. Research like this can help guide a student to a select few colleges that are right for them. For instance, if we follow our hypothetical ukulele student a little bit further, suddenly, Occidental College might go from a non-contender to the top of their list because Occy is one of the only schools who has hired a dedicated ukulele instructor as part of their Music faculty. The point here is that using your creative passion as a guide to help customize your college list is a must-do. 

Dive Deeper Into What You Love – This one may seem self-explanatory, but I mention it for two key reasons. The first is that, if you are a high-schooler who knows themselves well enough to know that you want to continue your creative passion in college, this is a very special thing. Most folks coming out of high school have no idea what they are going to stick with and study. Therefore, the fact that you do might indicate an even deeper desire to continue your creative passion than you once thought. Listen to your gut. It’s almost always right in these cases. Additionally, diving deeper into your creative passion will enable you to improve your skills, and newfound adeptness at whatever your passion may be, from visual art to music to writing long-form fiction, will be a great help when you start digging into the process implicit in our next point: the development of quality deliverables for your college application. 

Develop Deliverables – Because, my friends, the college application process, even in today’s age of segmented online forms, is a lot less cut and dry than most students believe. The Common Application and its cousins are not simply the draconian personal essay containers that we believe them to be. Instead, these portals provide ample space for a student to express their individuality. In the “extra information” section, there are places to drop in YouTube, LinkedIn, and even SoundCloud links. A student-made website displaying their graphic art can be even more persuasive than a stellar essay if created and shared in the right way to the right school at the right time. But how does one know when, where, and how to share these types of materials? How can your student differentiate themselves in a world that seems increasingly dependent on quelling creativity in favor of standardized metrics?

That’s where we come in. At Moxie, we’re committed to helping your student put their best (and most creative) foot forward when it comes to the college application process. Want to hear more about how we do it? Get in touch with us today!