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Relevant Experience And Desire And The College Application

By August 6, 2019 August 11th, 2019 No Comments

A special guest post by #BYDN summer intern, Veronika Kindred

The college application process is full of a lot of false promises. Promises that, in the end, I realized no one actually made and only existed in my head.

I graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA and an associates degree from Bard College. My first time doing the long and arduous college application process I applied to 17 schools. This number is not at all ridiculous. Most people I know applied to 10-20 schools, I know one person who applied to 40.

Out of the 17 schools that I applied to, I got into 2. 

In addition to my academic criteria, I was also the vice president of a club that I participated in for all four years of high school and I was an active member in my after school activity community (a local ballet school in my neighborhood).

For some reason, because I had all of these “checks” for my application (Good grades ✓, longtime participation in school club ✓, and longtime involvement in an after school community ✓), I believed that I had earned a spot at one of these colleges. That somehow I deserved acceptance because I did everything “right.” (Looking back on it, I realized my expectations were some mixture of white privilege and the human desire for success combined with the human desire to not want to work all that hard.).

Well the truth is that I’m not guaranteed anything in this life, and neither are you. Or, in the wise wise words of J. Kelly Hoey relevant experience and desire is not enough to land a seat at the table.” (Pg. 116 of Build Your Dream Network).

Throughout your job search and more broadly, your career, you might feel as though there are certain jobs or opportunities that are a “gimme.” Don’t lose your humility in front of these moments. Chances are there is someone who has the same or comparable qualifications to you and they have put more effort into their application or portfolio or, for whatever reason, might better fit the profile of who a hiring manager is looking for, and honestly? That’s okay. 

So which of the two schools that I got into am I going to be attending in a couple of weeks?

Well, neither.

I took a gap year (which I had been planning on anyway and which I highly recommend) and applied to a completely different type of school. An art school and a state school. Something that I hadn’t taken seriously the year before because I thought that this type of school was somehow lesser than the ones several of my peers would be attending. In other words, I was being extremely judgmental out of fear of being judged. I poured my heart into the application for this school and was beyond excited when I was accepted.

My college application process was a lesson in humility and of my place in the world.

As I move forward in my life and career and one day start applying and interviewing for jobs I do so with the lesson that no opportunity is a “gimme” and anything you truly want is worth pouring your heart into.

So what does get you that dream job? Stay tuned in the coming weeks for lots of actionable advice but in the meantime I will leave you with my four takeaways from the college application experience:

  • knowledge,
  • informed opinions,
  • critical thinking, and, of course,
  • your network.

Discover more of Nika’s #BYDN content for the off-to-college (or in-college) crowd on Instagram and/or Twitter and/or LinkedIn.

J. Kelly Hoey

J. Kelly Hoey

Kelly Hoey is the author of Build Your Dream Network (January 2017 / Tarcher Perigee). She has been lauded from Forbes (“1 of 5 Women Changing the World of VC/Entrepreneurship”) to Fast Company (“1 of the 25 Smartest Women On Twitter”) to Business Insider (“1 of the 100 Most Influential Tech Women On Twitter”) and Inc. (1 of “10 Most Well-Connected People in New York City's Startup Scene”). Empowering A Billion Women By 2020 included her on their list of the “100 Most Influential Global Leaders Empowering Women Worldwide”. Not bad for a former corporate lawyer. She’s a limited partner in two emerging tech funds (Laconia Capital Group and Lattice Ventures) and can frequently be found on Twitter @jkhoey.