Getting into Harvard: Make Your Children Interesting

Source: The Atlantic, Jun 2014

“We could fill our class twice over with valedictorians,” Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival, sponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, on Monday. That means admissions officers rely on intangibles like interesting essays or particularly unusual recommendations to decide who comprises the 5.9 percent of applicants who get in.

Faust’s top tip for raising a Harvard man or woman:

Make your children interesting!”

Faust recommended encouraging children to follow their passions as a way to develop an interesting personality. It’s much easier to complete a checklist, however daunting, than to actually be interesting.

Related Resource: Prep Beijing, Jul 2014

The thing about being “interesting” is that it is subjective; there’s no checklist or criteria to check off, there’s no one definition of interesting.

Instead, approach it by encouraging your child to be themselves, rather than force on them the rat race of test prep, tutoring and abundance of extra-curricular activities that robs them of time to think, self-reflect and enjoy themselves.

When your child isn’t overburdened, it’s easier to be creative and develop passions — and of course, to persevere through challenges and setbacks that often come with trying to reach new and higher levels.

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