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How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing out (Without Burning out)by Cal Newport
Synopses & Reviews
Horseshoe Crabs and Blogs
THE IDEA of drastically reducing your schedule probably sounds great in theory—who wouldn't want to enjoy an abundance of free time? But if you're like many students I've advised, you probably have reservations about the impact of such a lifestyle on your chances of getting into college. Running through the back of your mind is a simple logic: doing more is more impressive; therefore, by cutting back you're reducing your impressiveness, and this will hurt your admissions chances.
You will soon come to understand that this is a flawed belief. The number and difficulty of your accomplishments play only a minor role in college applications. Other factors are much more important.
Below, I introduce two students. The first, Olivia, dedicated only a handful of hours each week during the school year to extracurricular activities, yet still won a full-ride scholarship to the University of Virginia. The second, Jessica, was often able to finish her week's homework by Tuesday night—leaving the rest of the week free. She got accepted into the University of California, Berkeley, her dream school.
Their stories will help acclimate you to the concept that light schedules can correspond with admissions success. In the chapters that follow, we'll dive into the details of exactly why this is true and how you can replicate these results.
The Horseshoe Crab Effect
In late March of 2008, Olivia, a high school senior from a small town near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was ushered into a room. She took a seat across from a semicircle of five distinguished-looking men and women. The group greeted her with wide smiles, but their eyes were serious and appraising. The cramped dimensions of the room surprised Olivia. A desk, littered with the standard collection of photo frames and computer accessories, encroached on the floor space, leaving Olivia and her inquisitors almost uncomfortably close. It was so small, she recalls. It was just someone's office.
The mundane setting contrasted with the importance of the event taking place there. This was the final-round interview for the prestigious Jefferson Scholarship—an award that covered the full costs of attending the University of Virginia. Three months earlier, Olivia had been nominated by her high school for the prize. She had survived a round of regional interviews before being flown down to Charlottesville, Virginia—home to the university—for a battery of tests leading up to this interview. Over the past two days, Olivia had taken exams to assess her math and writing skills. She had also been given a packet of academic papers to read, and then placed in a conference room to debate their merits with other finalists while members of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation selection committee took notes. This final interview, however, held the most weight for the senior members of the foundation who would decide whether or not Olivia was Jefferson material.
To better understand what constitutes Jefferson material, consider a student whom I'll call Laura Gant, who won the scholarship the previous year. Laura liked to write. As a high school student she interned at Business Week and had several pieces pub
The author of How to Win at College outlines counterintuitive strategies for gaining acceptance into a college of choice while reducing stress levels, offering recommendations for focusing one's efforts and prioritizing goals. Original.
S is for Skeleton. . . .
It's a bone-afide mystery at Dink's school. Some sneaky soul has stolen the skeleton from the nurse's
office The principal promises free aquarium tickets to the savvy sleuths who can track down poor Mr. Bones. Soon mysterious clues are showing up all over the school. It's up to Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose to follow the clues and put those old bones to rest.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
CAL NEWPORT is the author of How to Win at College and How to Become a Straight-A Student. He graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a Ph.D. from MIT. His writing has appeared in national publications, and he is the founder of Study Hacks, the Web’s most popular student advice blog.
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