Building Your Personal Brand
Get the inside scoop on how to craft and strengthen your personal brand to standout during the college application process. Former Admissions Officer Rachael Moore will share her insider knowledge for college admissions success during this 60-minute webinar and Q&A session. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-06-06 Building Your Personal Brand
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on building your personal brand for college admissions. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi everyone. My name’s Rachael Moore. I work as an advisor team lead hereatcollegeadvisor.com and. Quick quick, quick background have over 20 years working in higher education, um, ended up resistant with fortune 200 company working with early career, really motivated talent development programs, students.
Um, so it’s, you know, a welcome opportunity to talk about branding today because I’ve worked with a lot of students who in those competitive environments, when, uh, [00:01:00] for college or in the corporate world have to have to groom that brand. So excited to be here. Definitely and real quick, before we get started, we just want to ask, what grade are you in?
So eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th. There are other, and other can be if you’re taking a gap year or you’re a transfer student, and if you’re a parent on the call, you can click the, um, grade that your child is about to go in. Uh, so while we wait for that, uh, Rachael , can you tell us a bit about what makes a student stand out to you or to admissions officers, um, during that admission side and the application process?
Sure. Oh, we could do a whole hour on that. Um, so let me think about this so I can keep it brief. Um, I would say being able to be authentic and to really just have a sense of who that student is and why they’re a great fit, being able to truly see and feel why they’re a great [00:02:00] fit to the school that I’m working for.
And, um, that they’re applying for. Definitely. So it’s looking like we have 1% eighth graders, 8%, ninth graders, 19%, 10th graders, 47% 11th graders making up the majority 23% 12th graders and 2% other. So we have a great mix tonight. Great. Okay. So part of why I love the mix of backgrounds is because personal branding, I really feel is a life skill in today’s world.
And you know, whether you’re intentional about it or not, um, it doesn’t matter what age you are, how you engage with the world and, you know, really pursuing what exciting to you and your interests are like that’s, that’s part of growing and evolving as a human being. So [00:03:00] a lot of the content that we’re going to talk about today, whether you’re an eighth grade, whether you’re a senior, you know, just sort of thinking about professional development is you’re moving into summer before college, or you’re a parent on this call.
This type of information to me is really skill-based um, that yes, we use it for the purpose of talking about college applications, but truly you can transfer it to anything in your life. So that’s really exciting. I’m going to be excited to see the questions that come out after the work that we do today, um, on this website.
So let’s start really basic here. You know, what is a personal brand? Um, if we want to talk formally, it’s much more of an intentional crafted image of what you want to project. So what you want others to [00:04:00] think about you? Um, the, when I talk with students, when I’m advising for CollegeAdvisor, um, basically the way that I introduce this idea of a personal brand is I talk about when I was working in admissions and I had to make a recommendation as to whether to admit a student, whether, you know, we needed to is a larger committee.
Talk about a fit that a student has to our school or the program they’re applying to, or to reject a student. And when I have to make those final decisions, Uh, recommendations. What I would do is I’d have my, my files say there were 50 that I had to have done by the end of the day. And I’d have three piles with those three potential outcomes.
And when I looked at that person’s name and had to make a recommendation, [00:05:00] I want a student to think about when I see your name, what is it that you want me to come to mind for me? What is it that I’m going to think about you and what gets, you know, what makes you tick what’s important to you? Why are you interested in my school?
Had your brand, you know, what is it that’s important to you and gets you excited? Um, so that I think is a really helpful mindset to have is we go through this, this conversation, um, in this webinar for the next 45 minutes or so. Um, and the same is true if you’re applying for a job, um, or for a position on you know, of leadership, you know, what is it the people want to, that you want people to think about?
You. They hear your name [00:06:00] so that in a nutshell is what a personal brand is. And, you know, it’s, it’s presented everywhere. It’s obviously for talking admissions, it’s on quote unquote paper, or most likely your electronic application, the application itself, or resume brag sheet for letter of recommendation and request that you submit to teachers or counselors, you know, it’s white, you want highlighted and presented, um, throughout that application.
It’s never just about though the actual official application itself. It is your social presence. It’s how you engage in the world and person. Um, you know, so when I think about your application, Also could be your on campus interview or when you visit on campus, you’re making [00:07:00] first impressions, um, even how you’re out and about in your daily life for social events, how you behave at work, um, or introduce yourself to somebody, you know, how you’re presenting in social media.
Again, we could do entire couple a series of webinars on, you know, your social presence, but it’s all of it. You know, the person that people see in all of these different ways.
So I started to answer this actually on that previous slide, but where am I application? And do I show my personal brand? I know many of you are hoping to see a nice list checklist here, um, of all the different components of the application, but truly the short answer is it’s everywhere. It’s everything from as simple as ha you know, being [00:08:00] grammatically correct in filling out your application, um, just the basic biographical information in your essays or personal statements on the activities portion.
It’s anything that you touch and has your name on it. That’s that’s, you’re representing yourself. So you really, you know, it’s never, when you’re doing an application, these are the reasons that we say you’ve got to take time, you know, don’t wait till the week before it’s due, um, to get sort of those basic quote, unquote, easy sections of an application done.
So for example, like a biographical information, um, the contact information, because being careful to. Really paying attention to the detail of how you answer a question. And just as something as simple as being [00:09:00] grammatically correct, that salmon straights, how much care you put into it, and really making sure that you have, you know, paid attention to the importance that, that document or that application has in getting to the goal that you have, which is admission as your outcome.
Um, it is, you know, even though you’re not technically applying yet when you visit a college campus, This is colleges. Well take soccer. Are they well record? Were you on campus? Did you attend any of our information sessions? Um, when we sit as a committee, we’ll ask, like, did they demonstrate any interest?
You know, have they reached out to an admissions counselor? How, how did they seem when they engaged with us? Were they excited? Did they ask any questions? Were they curious? [00:10:00] It’s that’s what I mean. When I said earlier about how we engage with our environment in the world and with others, it may just seem like a visit in your learning more, but.
Every inner action matters, um, because you never know, um, what you might pick up from that experience and who you might connect with further, who could be really helpful to you later on. Um, certainly though, if we want to talk basics with where in the application do you show your personal brand? Um, of course the personal statement, what you choose to write about and how you write about it, um, how you address the topic that you chose, or the prompt, um, your activities, you know, how we choose to.
Communicate how you spend your time outside of class. And it may not always be a laundry list of [00:11:00] actual like quote unquote activities. It could be work, it could be help with family members after school or on the weekends. It could be a real long commute that you have every day to and from school. But, you know, I encourage students to talk about that because that talks about how important your education is to you.
Um, and it also forces choices about. The other out of class involvements, what you have capacity to participate in. So all those different elements, of course, the letters of recommendation, who you choose to request a recommendation from and how they know you, um, and what they see about you, that they want to highlight what your price points are.
It’s, it’s truly an, every possible part of your application. Um, and then application can include an interview too. So [00:12:00] how you present yourself, how you prepare, how comfortable you are, um, just talking with others, um, and engaging that’s that’s all, when we say application, I know a lot of times students often think just sort of that electronic document that you submit, but it can mean all of those different elements as well.
Okay. So why is it important? I, um, when I was actually preparing for this presentation, and even though I’ve done a lot of research on this, this, this topics where it lights my fire, um, I really had to deep dive into this when I was making a transition, a career shift from 15 years in higher education to wanting to work in the corporate world, you know, that that’s a hard sell to do.
So I really had to look at my why, why I [00:13:00] wanted to make that shift, um, and put myself out there in that way. And I really had to be able to Ansel, like what I brought to the table and why that very different perspective would be a value, um, to a really competitive corporate environment. So. It was my brand that I really had to figure out, you know, what is it that I’m all about?
And how does that relate to the places that I wanted to work at? Where was that common, um, value system that, you know, we’re going, gonna make us a good fit, um, and why they would want to take, you know, a gamble on me too, so that I use as the example of why a personal brand is important. You’ve got to be able to know yourself well enough that you can speak to it [00:14:00] and help other, see, you know, why they want you on their team, whether it’s as an athlete, whether it’s in a work environment, whether it’s on a college campus and in an academic program, um, whatever it is.
You know, I think there are, people are often looking for two things when they’re deciding to bring someone on is what can this person bring to the table? Like, what are their skills, what are their talents? But it’s also, can they get along with everybody on the team? Can they get along with everybody? You know, are they, uh, someone that people like being around, you know, whether it’s in a CA on a campus, on a college campus, whether it’s in a classroom, whether it’s working in a work study job, wherever it is.
So that’s, that’s really why it’s important because you want it to be easy for people to see that when they have a need and you might be [00:15:00] a good fit, you want them to think about you. Um, when they’re looking for someone. To be part of their, their team or their community. Um, but when I was doing some additional research, um, for this presentation, something I really liked that I read was it’s, it’s a representation.
It’s it’s what drives you? What are your values and talents and passions. If you work with me in an advising capacity, my question probably on every single call is talk to me about what lights your fire and talk to me about why that is and give me examples of how that presents itself. What happens to you?
How do you light up? Um, do you get excited? What’s that look like? You know, does time fly by without you even realizing it? Um, because you’re just so into what you’re doing. That’s [00:16:00] what drives. It’s not your rep reputation. Um, and from that research, there was an example and outside it, um, just to be proper, um, in the Harvard business review.
Um, but what they use this really great example of someone in, they were looking for a promotion and a job, and they said, I’ve done everything, right? Quote unquote, you know, why, why wasn’t I considered for that position? I really felt I deserved it. And the answer was because no one knew you, you know, it’s, they didn’t, you know, take time to really engage and pursue more opportunities where people could really see all that they brought to the table and, you know, putting them out there outside of their comfort, a little or their comfort zone a little bit.
So that. Could really see the wheels turning and how they [00:17:00] responded in those situations and the great maybe contributions they brought to the table with solving problems. Um, so I think that again is a really key takeaway. When we think about branding, it’s a representation. What drives you? It’s not your reputation because you can have an awesome reputation for being a great worker, um, really reliable.
But if you kind of keep it to yourself, people don’t know that, unfortunately. So sometimes that’s a really hard lesson to hear, but I think, you know, if we’re thinking about personal branding as a life skill, I think it’s really important for you to understand that. So. Okay. So how does a strong personal plan play in college admissions?
I already alluded to this. If you’re in a one-on-one with me as your advisor, uh, we’re going to spend some [00:18:00] time thinking about what lights your fire, you know, are you planning to apply to a business program or more entrepreneur? We’re just going to use this as an example, like an entrepreneurial track and a business program.
Well, what happens to you when you are trying to make a sale? If you’re working a part-time job at, you know, an athletic store, you know, and you’ve got your goal for the day of how much merchandise you needs us. So. What happens to you when you get closer and closer to that goal, or if it’s a really, you know, competitive goal that can take you to the next level and recognition, like what happens to you that gets you ready to achieve that goal and it’s going to happen no matter what.
And then how, how are you when you do finally achieve that? That’s that’s what I want to hear about, you know, what, what just gets [00:19:00] you so excited. Um, so then think about, you know, why, what excites you about a school that you’re interested in because where you’re really going to thrive is a place that also shares similar types of values.
Um, you know, the entrepreneurial spirit people who really are. Excited by the challenge of putting themselves out there and pursuing bigger and bigger goals. You know, I think I know there are a lot of athletes on this call. I think this probably speaks pretty directly to you, you know, achieving the next level, the next standing for your team in championships, or to get to championship season or, you know, achieve a personal best record.
Um, all of that, you know, you want to be part of other teams who share that level of competency and [00:20:00] talent, um, and just goals wanting to get to the next level, you know? And then why, why is it that. That’s exciting to you being able to talk about that and how you see something that in yourself that you also see it in at that school or on that team or for that employer, whatever it may be.
That’s, it’s making that alignment and truly it’s magic. You know, when I’m working with a student and really starting to get to the, you know, what is it that makes you tick, um, and how what’s your goal and how are you going to get there when you’re able to put all these pieces together? That’s where the magic happens, because that’s when we come to your application and we look at how you, what you’ve done in your life, to be able to talk more about [00:21:00] that and how you want to build off of that in being an environment, that’s going to allow you to continue growing in these ways that allow you to use your talents.
Um, that’s being able to make that story, build that narrative and share that so that it admissions officer it’s crystal clear to them why they want to advocate for you to be there, or they’re able to just recommend admin. And they’re excited to see you and role that’s the magic in this type of work.
And I think it’s important to remember because college admissions has a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of unknown about it. There’s a lot of mystique, but in truth colleges and students want to help each other be the best versions of themselves. Students want to be at a place where they’re going to thrive and grow and feel accepted and colleges [00:22:00] want the exact same thing and they want to provide that for students.
So, um, I think it’s important to remember that that just basic human notion of wanting to help lift each other up and support each other and be better. Um, it’s true on both sides, the student and the college.
Yes. So now we’re going to do another quick poll. So where are you in the application process? Hasn’t started, I’m researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together, or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done. And while we wait for those answers to roll in, uh, Rachael , can you tell us a bit about, um, if admissions officers can tell if someone is being inauthentic and what that means?
You know, when I started this presentation and say, it talked about authenticity, I knew this question was coming. Um, believe it or not, you can’t. [00:23:00] Because first of all, you just get enough experience reading applications. I mean, you’re looking for certain things is an admissions officer, you know, who’s going to do well in your type of environment, generally, you know, the type of characteristics that align well to the culture of the school.
Um, it’s if you are basically in your application, I always use the term repeating my view book or my marketing material back to me without really being able to back up with examples as to why that speaks to you or how you live those types of values that you’re highlighting. I can see it, you know, maybe I even wrote the copy for that marketing material.
Um, so you know how you present yourself, the level of depth, you know, and how you spend your time on. Side [00:24:00] of class and it’s not about quality quantity, by the way. Um, again, we can do whole other sessions on that. Um, but just really being able to speak to your why, um, why you’re interested in that school and how you came to that believe you can pick it up really easily.
Definitely. So it’s looking like we have, um, 23% haven’t started 53% are researching schools. 13% are working on their essays and the other 11% are getting their application materials together. And, um, the webinar part is coming to a close, so we will need to get to the Q and a soon. Okay, great. So, um, just some more kind of putting into practice, what we have been talking about.
What are some ways to build your personal brand? Um, we actually sort of started. Set the tone for this a [00:25:00] couple of slides ago, but one of the best things you can do for yourself today this week, the coming few weeks after school starts to slow down or ends for the year is take some time wherever it is that you’re able to just kind of be yourself and reflect, you know, what lights your fire really think about.
What excites you, what brings out the best in you? You know, when are you just happy? Um, take some time to think about it and next you go to the deeper part, really get to, you know, ask yourself, well, why is that? And then go to another layer and, well, what is it about that experience that makes you light up?
You know, what happens when you are at your best? Um, and I’m going to go ask you to go back [00:26:00] further and think about having it. Oh, has it always been this way? Was it a recent experience that just kind of turns you on to a new interest? And now it’s all you can think about, you know, maybe you went to a robotics camp because you had to find something to do for summer, but you fell in love with it.
You know, it could be that recent or if we’re using that sort of engineering robotics type of idea, you know, You know, did a grandparent buy you a set of Legos when you were two years old and you just kept going since then, you’ve got the biggest collection of all of your friends, you know, think about that, whatever it is, um, because that’s really gonna start to give you some clues as to, you know, how this came to be and where you might want to take it moving forward.
You know, and then the other piece is, and this requires some bravery. Um, but what do others, how do [00:27:00] they describe you to, you know, you don’t have to ask everyone you’ve ever met. You don’t have to ask your entire class, um, your classmates or your teammates, um, your entire family at Thanksgiving. I don’t recommend that.
Um, but people that, who you really value their opinion that you respect and who know you well and who have your best interest at heart, that’s truly what is key? Um, how would they describe you, ask them that, what do they most like or respect about you? Where do they see you at your best? You know, how do they see you when you are at your best.
Then start to think about, you know, how you perceive yourself and that responses you get from others about how they would describe you. Um, does that perception, does your and their perceptions align, you know, are there similar characteristics, but maybe they present themselves in different ways [00:28:00] between how you see it and live it and how others see you living it and what surprises are there?
Um, cause undoubtedly, there are,
so then it’s really about thinking about what it is, you know, who you really want people to, how you want them to know you and recognize you, and then start to think about where can you speak to. Where that happens in your life and where that presents itself and where might there be some gaps where, you know, let’s look at it from an application perspective, are there some shadowing or, um, job opportunities or activities, or, you know, if you’re an athletics, maybe a different type of role on a team to take on that [00:29:00] help fill in maybe where you’re not demonstrating that as much, but you think is really important.
And just maybe an area where you want to grow more. This is where we’re starting to look at. Where are the really evident pieces in your application that, um, you know, it’s clear. What you’re trying to share about yourself, but maybe there are other elements that are there inside of you, but it’s not quite as evident.
You don’t really have a lot to put on paper, speak to let’s find those opportunities so that you can strengthen that a bit more in your story. Um, again, lying yourself to the opportunities and relationships that really are going to help support you and set you up for success as you grow. And then this piece is key.
Make yourself visible, you know, being able to put yourself out there and by making yourself [00:30:00] visible, it’s not about bragging. People will see it. You know, if you’re really engaged in you, engage with others and talk to them about, you know, the similar interests that you have. That it’s not about, you know, just telling anyone and everyone about what you’re all about.
That’s not gonna work in your favor. Um, but it’s about being part of communities where you can be the best version of yourself. And again, um, remember we’re all connected to something much bigger at the end of the day. Most of us want to help support each other, be the best versions of ourselves, um, and the knowledge you gain and the connections you make and the experiences you have, you’re going to be able to pay a forward.
And just as others will support you. Um, remember to do that too, you know, a year from now, the junior who’s starting to apply to college. Um, [00:31:00] maybe you’ve gone through this process now and learn so much, pay a forward to someone else who could really use that support.
Okay, this is pretty self-explanatory. I know we’re getting close to time, but it’s summer a good time to build your personal brand. I would like to push back and say, every living, breathing moment is an opportunity to build your personal brand. Um, whether you believe it or not, you’ve been doing it from the day you’re born, um, and how you engage with the world.
But yes, um, practically speaking summers are great times, especially right now, as you’re wrapping up a school here before you get into the, you know, the busy-ness of summer activities or vacations, now’s a really great time to do some reflecting and think about where those evidence and evidence spots are, where you can speak to what you want people to think of [00:32:00] when they see your name and where there might be some gaps that you can strengthen as well.
And my final tips are how to best build your personal brand. Um, well, let’s go back to that authenticity piece that we started, actually, it’s truly being comfortable and confident being you and continuing to learn who you are, um, and where you can be your best self, um, being intentional, you know, who do you want to be?
And is it realistic? You know, a lot of us might say, yeah, I want to play, you know, professional sports and you may have amazing talent, but are you at that top elite level? Most of the time, that’s not realistic for a lot of us, so let’s align appropriately. You can still get on the field or in the pool or whatever it is that you’re into.
Um, On the stage, if [00:33:00] you’re in the theater, but do it for the right reasons because it brings you joy and it’s what lights your fire. Not because you’re trying to be someone, others, idealistic version of what that looks like. Um, and then just identifying neat, meaningful experiences and relationships again, surrounding yourself with those who reflect and encourage you to be the best version of yourself, who has your best interest at heart, um, and be brave.
Um, this is hard stuff, you know, we can talk through and run through with it. And it’s great. I really believe in all of this, but sometimes you have to make some hard decisions, you know, maybe you’re not hanging out with people who you love them, but maybe they don’t align to some of the goals or the values that you have.
If it’s holding you back, um, you need to think about that and it doesn’t mean that [00:34:00] you can’t have relationships with them, or they can’t be part of your life, but you have to have that balance of, you know, how am I going to get to where I need to go. And sometimes that makes some difficult decisions, um, with moving on and just growing it’s truly about growing.
So what I would say is, um, truly, I wish you so much luck. This is like I said, life skills. Um, it’s scary, but it’s so exciting. Um, and it truly, it’s going to help you in your college applications, but it’s going to help you in your life no matter what it is, you pursue. Definitely. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar.
I hope you found this information helpful. And remember that you can download the side from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through your questions. You submitted in the Q and a tab and read them a lot before our panelists gives you an answer as a heads up. If [00:35:00] your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you joined the webinar through the custom link sent to your email and not from the webinar landing page, also known as the lead site or else you won’t get all the features of big market.
So just make sure you joined through that custom link. So now I’m moving on to the Q and a, our first question is, and I’m going to kind of round add some pieces to it, but the student is asking how can I add dual enrollment into my personal brand for college admissions? And can you just, um, also talk about how your courses that you take in high school can add to your personal grant?
Oh, for sure. Um, you’re right. I think I’m going to tackle this more from. It’s not one in the same. I understand that, but really how you choose to challenge yourself is absolutely part of your brand. So, you know, if you’re someone who’s really driven to academically, um, or maybe there’s just a, an area that you’re really [00:36:00] curious about and enjoy, um, that you want to just keep deep diving into and learning more.
So you take a class at another, at a college. You know, I had a student yesterday, I met with who just passionate about mythology and he takes classes at a local college just because it lights this fire. That’s your brand. So speaking to that and talking about how you went out on your own to do this and why?
Um, absolutely. Um, just like, you know, when we review an application and we look to see what’s your curriculum, what are the options that you can take advantage of with your curriculum? Because every school is different. Um, what could you take advantage of that was appropriate for you to, um, and what did or didn’t you in fact take advantage?
That speaks to how, you know, how much does the academic challenge [00:37:00] really drive you and the choices so that’s branding for sure. Definitely. So just to kind of add to that, that can be, um, branding from the sense of like showing that you take that academic rigor, like Rachael said, it could be, um, taking those courses, like mythology that you’re interested in, so you can show ’em what you like, um, what you really want to dive into.
And on the other end of that, it can show that you’re preparing for something that you are interested in. So like, if you’re interested in pre-med in college, taking higher level biology and other science courses and math courses can really show that you’re interested in that. Or if you are doing dual enrollment that shows that you’re really engaged and you really want to go to college and you’re preparing yourself from that or with, um, taking IB, which is very writing.
If you’re interested in journalism or something very connected to writing that can show like, oh, this student’s interested in writing, or even the course that you take in the IB or AP or dual programs can show a, were [00:38:00] interested in moving onto the next question. Um, some students are interested in extracurricular, so I’ll kind of PCs together also, but the first students asking is athletic drive weighted more or less versus academic achievements.
Um, what if you have both some pros and cons to, um, you know, says, um, academics, which one matters more. So I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole of one matters more than the other. Um, I think it’s helpful to give the example again from the admissions officer perspective. Um, so one of the things that you’re challenged with when you’re an admissions officer is especially at your more selective schools where you have are more selective schools, where you have more qualified applicants than you have spaces in the class.
And what you’re doing is you’re shaping a class, you know, you know, who’s gonna thrive generally, you [00:39:00] know, the characteristics, someone possesses that is going to be a really good fit to that school. And so for us, what we’re looking for, you can’t have. If it was as simple as just putting in like certain number of activities or type of activity and numbers, GPA, test scores, types of classes, you could put that into a software program and just spit it out.
And you went to need admissions officers, but we’re humans. We are building communities and being able to really see and read what makes someone tick, what they would based on their experience or their interests, their talents bring to that community and how it aligns to that community. That’s what we’re looking for.
Absolutely academics. [00:40:00] That’s what I’m looking for as an admissions office, officer number one. Um, but after that, if I’m confident that you can do the work and you’re competitive, It’s all of those things, and it may be primarily athletics, like a really illustrious career that you’ve had and something that you intend to pursue as a student as well.
Um, it could be other things, so there’s not a definitive, one thing that’s going to get you. And people hate that answer. I probably shouldn’t be that one, but I know they do.
I’m not worth my salt. If I’m not transparent about that going onto the next question. Another student kind of going off of this is asking, what would you recommend for extracurriculars? If you aren’t extremely excited about something, is it still okay to do it? Is it better to try lots of different things or stick with just one?
How do [00:41:00] AOS think about extracurriculars? Um, yeah, I love that car. Love that question. Um, I’m going to be the first to tell you if it’s not a requirement for your application, but I’m going to speak to that more from an academic realm. You know, we want to see that competitiveness just cause you don’t like English classes doesn’t mean you can take your English class.
This is the one we’re talking about it from an activities or out of class engagement perspective. Why would I ever want you to do something that doesn’t bring the best you to the table? I love that you tried something that’s part of growing. If you didn’t like it, move on to find more of what you do.
Like that’s, it’s all about the journey and you speaking to that, as opposed to against the quantity, um, there are students. I’m only using Mrs. Example. Cause I know there actually are a lot of athletes [00:42:00] in the room, but you know, I know the dedication that that requires and that’s your brand for sure. Um, you know, that’s, that’s part of what makes you, you and what you bring to the table.
You know, there’s not a writer or wrong, but I, what speaks to me most in that question is please don’t do something because someone else told you, you should do it. Um, you talk to your admissions teams, you look at the requirements, you look at what makes the school a good fit for you. That’s how we’re going to build your, your narrative to help it counselor or admissions officer.
See why you’re a great fit to that. Definitely. Okay. So you talked about lighting, someone’s fire. Uh, so students asking, what tips do you have on being able to identify what lights your fire? Um, we all probably have at least one idea of what lights our fire, but my question is more on being able to [00:43:00] specifically articulate it.
Yeah. Um, that’s probably the deep work that’s part of like the reflecting and I know not everyone here is a writer, but there’s a lot of value in just spending some time, even if it’s just short bullet points, um, on a piece of paper when you went and grabbed a coffee or something and just what excites you and, you know, maybe it’s not presenting itself and like your out of class activities so much.
Um, or maybe you haven’t been, you know, in the same type of activities your year and kind of have a career in an area, but think about your classes. You know, is it science that you love? You know, what is it like a specific area of science and, you know, is it the one that has the labs and what type of labs is it chemistry?
Is it anatomy in biology? Is it [00:44:00] physics? And once you identify that, you know what happens? You know, why are you excited when it’s lab day? You know, what happens to you? What is, what was your takeaway from that experience for the day? And then, you know, are there other areas of life that you start to realize it might present yourself?
You know, let’s use chemistry, it’s the example, you know, do you like baking? Well, guess what? Chemistry and baking are very interrelated because if you don’t get the ingredients right. It’s not going to work and it’s not going to taste good. And that might sound like a crazy example if you just walked into the room and heard that.
But when you really think about the interactions and how you try to make, you know, optimize these materials and ingredients to make something work and provide, you know, a purpose in the world, [00:45:00] that might be what the excitement is. That process is what lights your fire. Definitely kind of going off of that.
One of my students is interested in going to law school, but she’s also very interested in dance and she was wondering how she could combine the two into some sort of things. She was thinking that she couldn’t do both that I was talking with her and they’re like, this is, this was just example. But for a brand, it could be that dancing is what gives her, her posture and her, um, body like body language and stuff.
And that sort of thing can be projected in a loss setting to make her a better lawyer to get across her point, or even if she were to take it in another way, because she’s interested in social justice, starting some sort of dance class to help students, um, Uh, stay away from those, uh, prison pipeline, essentially like different angles can really bring out like a brand or theme and stuff.
It’s really just about [00:46:00] pulling out those interesting things. Those things that you’re interested in, rather it is. And in a complete, I love how you steer that, that student, but in another way could also be, this is how dances, what I just enjoy doing. And I distress that way. And when I’m looking at the pressure and the stress that goes into that type of career, that’s my outlet, you know, I mean, there’s just so many ways that you can spin it and, um, and it’s authentic, but it’s just figuring that all out.
Definitely. Um, okay. Uh, what are some ways you can identify what, um, what values are important to a college. Go to their website. Even more than that though, you know, like I joked about, oh, don’t repeat my marketing material back to me. Um, I will often have joke when I’m coaching [00:47:00] students on how to best research and explore, you know, a campus when they’re visiting is go to the coffee shop or go where students hang out and then strike up a conversation with them because they’re unfiltered, unpaid perspective is absolutely going to give you great insight into how you feel when you’re having those conversations.
And when you’re just walking through the coffee shop and who’s there. And what are the conversations you hear that are happening or what’s the level of the study that’s going on? You know, like you, no matter where it is, whether it’s a coffee, shop, the student getting in, just walking across campus on a beautiful day, you’re going to feel the vibe and you gotta listen to your gut.
Um, but have those conversations that is not to say you don’t talk to the tour guides. You absolutely do that to, and the they admissions officers, but just feel it, [00:48:00] experience it. Um, E and what’s important to them. Why did they choose that school? You know, what is it when they talk about their school that they’re so proud of the, do they want people walking away knowing about that school?
That’s where you start to learn the value. Kind of going off of that at my, um, on my tour at Cornell, I was talking with the admissions officer at the college of human ecology and he was asking these questions in his speech saying like, um, he was like saying, I don’t even remember what he was talking about, but he was saying that what was important to Cornell was.
Students knowing, uh, the, how, the why and the what. And he went on like this long speech about each of those parts. And I took those things and I used them in my essay for Cornell. And so that was how I kind of got what they were looking for and also how I was able to explain what I have and how it [00:49:00] matches with them.
And then also just talking with the different, uh, admissions officers and students around campus, you can really see that they were interested in like helping people. They are very inviting and stuff. So having a personality that was very open and inviting and demonstrating that in my application show it that I’d be a good fit.
So kind of like that without being fake about who you are, but also like just seeing if you like mesh with the school. That’s perfectly said, timeliness. What you love about the school is like partially like the altruistic spirit of the students in you live at in your life, just by you demonstrating that, they see it, you see that isn’t admissions office, or kind of going off of that.
You talked about not just reading off the marketing materials. So students asking how do we showcase ourselves without making it seem we are selling ourselves. That’s such a good question. Um, the [00:50:00] more you’re able to just be comfortable talking about who you are and what you do again, if it’s coming from the heart and you just thinking about it from the perspective.
Here’s who I am, you know, here’s, here’s what I’m looking for. Here’s, here’s what I value. And you show that through how you spend your time or what you choose to write about, and maybe the classes that you’ve chosen to take beyond the required ones. Um, that’s, that’s showing it. So I wish I could give something really prescriptive, but it’s, it’s being confident sharing who you are and it there’s no, you know, these are the words that are going to be like the secret like code.
So having a admin on the application, it’s truly just thinking [00:51:00] about what you love and why you love that reflected in the school year, applying to, and just. Aligning your, you know, sharing this parts of you that demonstrate that. I hope I answered that did at least. So for those in the room who are already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admissions process is for parents and students alike.
Our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts, such as Rachael are ready to help you and your family navigate at all in one-on-one advising sessions, take charge of your family’s college admissions. Uh, By signing up for a free 15 minute strategy session within admissions expert using the QR code on the screen, CollegeAdvisor has a bunch of wonderful, um, different parts like our financial aid team or essay review team, but the most essential and the best part of CollegeAdvisors is really the advisors themselves, who you get to work with and who really get to know [00:52:00] you and calls and emailing and texting and going through your essays.
And they really get to know who you are, what you want and what you’re interested in. One thing I really enjoyed is just taking an hour long call with all of my clients, just to hear them talk about like their day or talk about what they want to do, figuring out what they really like and just asking them a million questions so they can really get a good idea of who they are, what they want.
And that’s really what will help. With building the best college list for you building your best essays and building your best application overall, because having someone else who can really pull out those parts of you, of your brand can really make your application the strongest. So now that’s the Q and a, uh, so, okay.
I’m seeing a theme coming up of students asking about specific things that can help with your brand. So when students asking how can community service hours add to that, um, how can doing a fellowship help build your personal brand, um, [00:53:00] and other sorts of activities. Can you talk a bit about how, um, different activities and even different components of the application process play together to build a brand, even giving an example, maybe?
Yeah, no, I actually was gonna use the research example. Um, if you are dreaming of going into research or, you know, any type of. I feel that’s going to require some advanced level of education or certification, whether it’s say in the health professions, being a doctor or. You know, being an economist or like a professor teaching in the area that you’re really passionate about.
Research is such a key part of that. And, you know, even some of the classes that you take, um, you know, I always, and I don’t want to get too in the weeds, but, you know, taking a statistics class, AP statistics, if [00:54:00] your school has it, or taking it as a dual enrollment type of class, the reason I just suggest that is statistics are a huge part of research.
So having a base level, understanding of that and putting yourself out there already to, to learn more about that. Um, so you can more quickly dive into more deeper level research. That’s a great way to show that. You know, starting to really explore anger, you know, community, uh, you know, local colleges or professionals you share.
And who do you work in the area that you’re curious about asking if you can shadow or intern or, you know, being able to just sort of immerse yourself or get more exposure to those areas that you’re thinking you might be interested in. That’s really demonstrating that. Um, same with service. [00:55:00] Uh, you know, if that’s something that you’re really just giving to others or they’re in a certain way, I mean, it can mean so many different things from working every week at a few, at a food pantry to, you know, Teaching it your Sunday school too, you know, preschoolers every Sunday, you know, it means something different to everybody, but you know how you communicate your life and how you spend your time.
That’s, you know, service is likely to very organically come to the surface. Um, again, a school note, you know, if service is a very strong component of the values, if that student body and what they might do in traditions or outside of class, maybe it’s a requirement for graduation. You’re going to see that, um, and an [00:56:00] admissions officer’s gonna align that.
Kind of going off of that. How do you bring it site meant to your application when you are entering a college as an undecided? Like how do you show that brand? If you don’t have a specific major with like applying pre-med or prying biology or something more specific, you can kind of see the direct connection.
How does someone going in undecided show that? Well, my hope is after odd discussed, you’ll understand that it’s not just about the major first summit is, and you should own that and leverage that. But for many of us and I was one of them, I, I’m actually curious about a lot of things and just like learning.
So to pinpoint something is very. Very like constricting to me. So for me, a liberal arts school with great, um, not for everyone, but I just use that as an example of like, [00:57:00] I just organically, without intentionally doing it had a lot of different outside of class in trust. So whether it was in the theater and it was in the orchestra, but it was also some pretty hardcore swimming and, you know, working, you know, doing some service work.
And I also had some family responsibilities. So there for me, that balance was there. Um, and also what I chose to write about as my essay topic really started to hit upon, you know, how life experiences and it led me towards service type of professor. I knew this much is that I, I needed to do work where I was supporting others in some way.
I didn’t know what that looked like, but my. Actually reflected that, um, because there were experiences that led me in that direction. So I, again, I feel like because I can never [00:58:00] give you a black and white answer. It’s very gray, but I hope that that helps, like to me when I read and when I meet with students, my fire is just learning about them is human beings and helping give them the tools to help them get whatever it is they’re seeking to achieve.
Um, it doesn’t matter the, so much the detail or what specifically it is. It’s just that there’s something, you know, and that you’re looking to grow those talents and interests. And you’re curious, um, in your open to what’s next. Kind of going off of that, as students are interested in like different aspects of the application process, we do have other webinars that go into more detail and stuff like the standardized tests, grades, and everything.
So check those out. But, [00:59:00] um, from the pre panel, another student was asking what, uh, factors, uh, does the, uh, personal brand consider more? Is it your GPA? Is it your sports activities, your test scores, volunteering essay, which part matters the most in your brand? What do you want it to be? I know you’re going to dislike me for that answer, but when I see your name, let’s bring it full circle to how we started this presentation.
When I see your name at the end of my reading day, and I have to make a recommendation. What is it that you want me to think of? You know, if you’ve made it to the pile of either admin or we’re going to a committee, let’s talk more about it. How does it fit in the overall competitiveness? The applicant pool?
I know you can do the work. So if I know you can do the work [01:00:00] now, it’s all those other things. So if you want it to be the academic piece, that’s a huge part of your identity and what lights your fire is, the research or learning. Um, that’s what it is. But if it’s more, you know, things outside of the traditional classroom, then that’s what it is.
I’m shaping. Kind of give another example of that. In my personal statement, I wrote about my interest in bringing access to education and it was very education focused. I talked about one of the projects I did in high school. Um, my, um, supplements were more about the programs in the schools I was interested in, which were more pre-med related.
So there’s like education pre-med, but those both add it together because it was like helping others was sort of a theme sort of my brand. Um, my clubs had a mixture of service clubs and activities thing, doing [01:01:00] things around my school to help other students, um, tutoring and guidance. Um, so there was like just a general thing of like helping others and it was either education related or pre-med related.
So that was sort of my brand. And then my letters of rec I asked, um, What did I ask? I asked one of the people that I worked for for a letter of recommendation, I asked some teachers and they all sorta, um, supported that same idea of like helping people, um, being, going, being outgoing. Um, one person mentioned my interest in fashion design, so that was another aspect of it.
Um, so like there are just different ways you can show it. And then of course, grades, GPA show like your academic interests, um, your effort you put into school. Um, those more show that you’ll just be a good fit academically. Like you’ll just be a strong student. Um, the other aspects, in my opinion, show more like the nitty gritty details, like who you are per se.
It’s all of it. And then, [01:02:00] so kind of just close out the webinars. Is there any last remarks you want to make? I just want to wish you all luck. You’re probably going to laugh at me, but this to me is such a great way to spend an evening is just being able to come and talk to you about something. I hope you’ll find really useful.
Like I said, obviously we’re here from a college application perspective, but it’s also a life skill that you can apply in so many ways. Um, and it’s just such an honor to be able to help you figure out, you know, how you most want to present yourself to go after whatever it is that you hope your goals are and you hope to achieve.
So just thank you for giving me the honor of being able to just be a small part supporting with that. Definitely. So thank you everyone for coming out tonight. Um, we [01:03:00] hope you had a great time and we enjoyed sharing this information with you about building your personal brands. Yeah, for anyone who didn’t get their questions answered tonight, there are other webinars that deal more specifically with what you ask and, uh, where you can find more information.
So please do check those out. Here’s the rest of our June series, where we’ll be talking about, um, different identities, different types of colleges and different ways to really fill out your application. Um, and then also, um, different regions will have their own webinars. So like if you’re in the out the California region, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have one on Chicago, but I can’t remember for sure, but, uh, so different regions, different types of colleges is really the theme and different identities.
So please do check those out and thank you everyone for coming out tonight and good night.