Hi, 10th Graders,

I am sure none of the answers that you have seen make sense to you or you already know because there’s no shortage of people telling you to get a perfect SAT, compete in D1 sport, or do something extraordinary including donating tons of money to MIT.

As I am writing this, I am furious that all college advice has been lists of achievements that seem to be impossible to reach.

They are true but not practical so don’t let them crush your MIT spirit.

First of all, MIT welcomes all kinds of students and they are looking for you. However, there are so many YOUs who want to get into MIT and you have to show them why you NEED MIT the most (read their website and learn about the programs offered in MIT).

It’s about the FIT between you and MIT, the more you can show them that your conviction to contribute to solving a problem in our society.

Pay attention!

This is not a hard question to answer but you need to create “evidence” (that also means do something with your time) to show.

So, where do you start?

Before I go into the detail, remember this:

If a college doesn’t think that they can help you to elevate your future after graduation (assuming you can articulate it), they will not offer you admission.

So you need to not only show them that you are academically ready (GPA/SAT/APs) also motivationally ready (have an idea of what you want to do and how will the college help you).

5 ways to explore your career interests in high school:

1. What you do in your spare time: what exactly do you enjoy doing? Is there a particular activity that you find yourself interested in and invested in, even if at times it takes a lot of effort? This may guide you to your career or occupation. For example, maybe you like writing about certain topics (economics, the environment, social justice). You might look into becoming a journalist or working in public relations.

2. What you read: Do you like to read certain types of books?

Books about traveling? Then perhaps you should look into becoming a tour guide. If it’s historical novels you are interested in, maybe writing history books is your calling.

3. Where you look for information: do you prefer to learn about information online or are you more comfortable with books? If it’s the Internet, then you might be interested in computer programming or engineering. Maybe business interests you.

4. What people tell you: Listen carefully to what other people tell you. Your parents, teachers, friends, and co-workers might provide good advice about a particular career or occupation that interests you.

5. Your dreams: If asked to write down your five greatest dreams in life, what would they be? Think of this list as a filter through which you can look at what you most enjoy. Once you figure out what your dreams are, try to match them up with a career or occupation.

5 ways to involve in a community (or two) where you find people with the same interests as yours:

1. Your current school clubs or teams: You can join a club or team that encourages you to participate in an activity that you enjoy. If there isn’t one, then why not create your own? For example, if you enjoy writing poetry and short stories, perhaps starting a reading club is for you!

2. Sports or recreation you can do on your own: Think about what sports and activities you enjoy doing on your own. Are there any that require a high level of discipline or training? If so, then these may line up with some skills that could lead to the career or occupation you are interested in pursuing.

3. A part-time job: You can spend time collecting different kinds of job experiences and skills that can influence your career or occupation. This will help you to find out if the activity is something you really enjoy and want to keep doing.

4. Community service: Volunteering is a great way to get involved in the community, try out different kinds of activities, and learn about new places that interest you.

5. A summer job: If you’re lucky enough to get a summer job, it can be a great way to earn some income and practice your skills in the career or occupation that interests you.

OK. You are probably thinking … “What if…(whatever you are thinking).” Shut that voice off and focus on getting involved and how to contribute.

No, you need to earn it so work hard for some time. And, yes, you are valuable as long as you work.

I wish you the best and hope you find your aspiration to achieve everything on the list. Besides, Ivy League is overrated and the journey is so much more interesting.

If you are to explore different options, you can do a college search.