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Resilience in College Admissions

After coming back from a very insightful IECA Conference in Los Angeles where I had the opportunity to speak and learn from college admissions representatives, one trait that they mentioned repeatedly was resilience.

Reading any article these days will tell you that stress, depression, anxiety, and suicide are at an all-time high at colleges across the country. Therefore, it is more important than ever to let students know that its okay to try new things, take on new challenges, struggle, but then figure out how to rise above.

Challenges can arise from taking on harder academic classes, but it can also just be setback they face personally. I've had students whose grades may have suffered due to being bullied at school or perhaps experiencing the loss of a loved one, but the key was they all came through the experience stronger. They learned to communicate the challenges they were having with their teachers and parents. They learned to ask for help and resources to help them overcome.

Tough situations teach us so much about a student's character. Are they humble enough to ask for help? And can they do it on their own instead of having their parents step in? Are they persistent enough to work through the problem? What attitude do they approach these difficult situations with? How creative and resourceful do they get with the solution?

Whether it is reflected in their letters of recommendation or additional information essay, it's a great opportunity to touch on an area that college admissions really cares about. After all, they are trying to create the best community they can and that means bringing on students that are not afraid to ask for help when they are struggling and it is common to struggle that first semester as students adapt to college life and being away from home.

While resilience is a key factor that is important for college admissions, I think it is a critical life skill for anyone. So, as they say, falling isn't bad as long as you pick yourself up.


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