One thing at the forefront of the minds of high school students is how they can get into a good college. The college you go to and the connections you make there will shape the rest of your life, so it’s natural to want to get into a prestigious institution.
While getting good grades and test scores will get your foot in the door at the admissions office, it’s ultimately your extracurricular activities and achievements that will decide if you get in. Maybe 20 years ago, straight-A grades and a 1500+ SAT score could get you almost anywhere you wanted, but today, more students with these stats are applying than colleges can let in.
Although there are no exact criteria for how you can get in the admitted pile, advisors generally agree that colleges are looking for a “spike” in your application. This “spike” is a particular interest area of yours that you excel in and have made a considerable impact on. Essentially, rather than spreading yourself thin and trying to be a jack of all trades, universities would rather see you shine in the one or two things that you’re most passionate about. They want to see you sticking with something year after year, assuming a leadership position in it, and using your knowledge and skills to make a lasting, positive impact.
There are almost endless options for what your “spike” can be. If you excel at a sport, going to the Junior Olympics for it could be a mark of your passion and achievement. For a student who loves debate, captaining a debate team that reaches the National Finals would be impressive. If a STEM field is your forte, placing in a prestigious science fair would indicate your success.
Given that you’re reading this post, one of your greatest interests is likely business. Luckily, if you take the right steps, entrepreneurship can make for a great “spike” and be very impressive to college admissions officers. It naturally encourages leadership, commitment, and achievement, all things that are the mark of a great student.
Let’s go through how starting a business could get you into your dream college. Let’s say you have an idea for a clothing brand that you want to build, but you haven’t been able to do it alone. You post a general overview of the idea here on Venzur, and several fellow students message you saying they’re interested in helping, while others provide you with useful feedback on what they would look for in the company. You team up with a student proficient in graphic design and a student who’s great at building brand pages on social media and you get to work.
You get on calls with your cofounders as much as you can and work together to get the company off the ground. With all of your skills and time combined, you get your clothing designed and printed, your online store built, and your social presence growing. Only a few weeks into the project, sales start coming in and you realize that this idea has real potential.
As your revenue grows, so does the company. You hire other students, or even adults, to manage various aspects of the brand. You build a team of worldwide ambassadors to represent your brand and further build your online presence. Once the company is financially stable, you might even pledge a portion of your profits to a worthy cause that’s close to your heart. By the time it comes around to college admissions season, your little dabble in entrepreneurship has turned into a sizeable company with impressive numbers and a profound impact.
Here’s why this would make such a good “spike.” First, it shows commitment. Unlike someone who joins 20 clubs in an effort to show their worth, you found something that you were passionate about and stayed with it, sinking countless hours of your time and effort into it. Colleges want to see this true version of you, not one who is just trying to build a long resume. Next, it shows incredible leadership skills. Not only did you build something from the ground up, but you managed and coordinated other students, or possibly even adults, to make your idea a reality. Leadership is perhaps the most important skill that colleges look for, so having a leadership role at a company you helped to build is bound to impress the admissions team. Lastly, it shows pure intelligence and achievement. You, as just a high school student, were able to build a successful company, potentially with 5, 6, or 7 figures of income to prove it. Or even if your company wasn’t financially successful, it still shows the same impressive personal qualities and could make for a great essay topic. And along with the monetary aspect, your company was able to have a significant impact, being enjoyed by people around the world and maybe even giving back to the community. With this showcase of commitment, leadership, and intelligence, it’s clear how entrepreneurship can be the crown jewel of your portfolio in college admissions offices.
Entrepreneurship is open to anyone and everyone, which is why we encourage it so much. There are no prerequisite skills or experiences to launch your own company, and with the prevalence of the internet, you can learn and execute new tasks without even having to leave your own home. With not much needed to start but all the room in the world to grow, we believe entrepreneurship is one of the best things you can do as a student, both for your own enjoyment and for impressing the college admissions office at your dream school.
If you want to launch your own company but feel you can’t do it alone, Venzur is the place for you. You can solicit feedback for your ideas, recruit people to join you in building them, or request to join with others to pursue their ideas. You can also check out our other blog posts and resources that cover everything from college admissions to specific business topics. We hope that you join our community!