posted Aug 26, 2010, 8:42 PM by Glenda Durano   [ updated Nov 7, 2010, 3:56 PM ]



A panel of Ivy League admissions officers was recently asked, “What’s the most common mistake you see when students apply to a competitive university?”  The answer was unanimous:  students trying to be whom they think the university wants them to be instead of being themselves.


Ideally, throughout high school, a student has spent time and energy discovering his passions and developing his potential in several areas.  Why, then, would he want to misrepresent himself when he applies for college?  Usually, the reason is a lack of self-confidence.  Hebrews 10:35-36 says, “Do not throw away your confidence.  It will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”   We need to stay confident that God is in control of everything, and that He has equipped us with the talents and abilities we need for life.  Ultimately, we will be rewarded for following His path.


Students sometimes ask me why I keep pounding on this idea of discovering one’s passions.  Why is it so important?  Well, contrary to popular belief, it's not simply because he'll be happier that way (although he will be!)  Ultimate satisfaction is derived solely from a deep, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.  Satisfaction is based on who we are in Him—not in what we do. Nevertheless, when we are pursuing our God-given passions, God is able to shine through us more evidently and we please Him because we are fulfilling His purpose—the purpose for which we are called and the purpose for which we will eventually be judged. 


As Christians, we trust God with eternity. Therefore, it shouldn’t be that difficult to trust Him with our college education!  God has a plan for each of our lives—a plan that truly is beyond all imagination.  He gives us clues regarding His plan and path—our talents, gifts, and abilities—and when we are walking His path, He confirms it clearly with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.  That doesn’t mean that following God’s path is a cakewalk.  On the contrary, it takes time and effort to develop the skills necessary for honing passions, but when you’re walking in God’s perfect plan, it’s as if you’re not just walking down a path; you’re walking on a moving sidewalk.  


If you apply for college and submit an essay that you think the admissions officers want to read instead of simply being honest about your personal opinions, passions, and experiences, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Even worse, if the college accepts you and you agree to attend, you’ll ultimately be unhappy because you applied under a charade.  Be yourself and trust that God knows exactly where you need to go.  It’s impossible to be the very best applicant to a university, but if you press into God and are honest with yourself, you can definitely be the best ‘you’ that you can be…and that’s exactly what universities want!   


Be yourself, and let God shine through!