Intentionality: It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it
By Rebecca Sherer
One of the most rewarding and enjoyable parts of being a College Admissions Coach is getting to work with insightful, thoughtful, and courageous young people. Cultivate students, like so many college bound young adults, are involved in various activities that range from Women’s Empowerment Clubs to nonprofits that provide hygiene items to their community’s homeless population– and everything in between.
As competition for entrance into our nation’s colleges increases, so does student involvement. Extra curricular activities provide a way for students to explore their interests, delve into their passions, and serve their communities in meaningful ways. However, the trend to undertake more and more activities in pursuit of the perfect college application is misguided and inherently contradictory to the value behind extra curriculars in the first place — especially in the college admissions process.
So, why are colleges so interested how students spend their time outside of the classroom? The answer: Intentionality. When Jeanine and I came up with the Cultiv8 learner habits, they were rooted in not only what college admissions officers were looking for in stellar applicants, but also in the elements necessary to… well, making good humans. Not ironically, these two ideas are in complete alignment.
Intentionality is, simply put, being purposeful and deliberate in decision making. When a student decides to join a club, take up a new sport, or begin an internship, our first question is always: Why? Getting students to reflect on their core values, those attitudes and beliefs that drive our decisions to act, that is the magic of what we do and the magic of what can come off the page in a college admissions essay if a student has, in fact, been intentional in their choices.
I often find myself sitting across from parents and students asking, “If you were going to allow a stranger to come live at your house for the next four years, what would you want to know about them?” With every application our students send in, they are essentially asking that college, “Can I come live with you?” Colleges expect to uncover, through the application, a student’s true character to make a determination in answering that question.
Cultivate. supports students in exploring and defining their core values– to become self aware. Through this work, students can make more intentional decisions about how to spend their time both inside and outside of the classroom. So, when colleges ask,“What are your intentions?” Our students know how to answer.