- Don’t be needy.
Focus on what you need from a school more than what a school needs from you. Just like your crush, admissions officers can smell neediness from 3,000 miles away. Don’t volunteer in Haiti, join the yearbook club, and sell your startup to Yahoo! as a sophomore just to get Stanford’s attention—unless that’s truly who you are. Choose extra-curriculars that reflect your scrappy genuine quirkiness—it won’t guarantee you admission, but it will make you a more attractive person.
- Play hard to get.
Don’t give yourself away to any school that will have you. Conventional wisdom has you apply to lots of safety schools. We say, don’t apply to any school you wouldn’t be totally stoked to attend. As long as you’re pretty confident you can get into one or two of those schools, the rest can be reaches. You’re worth it.
- Expect rejection.
In the quest to find a great match, you’re going to get burned, but it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe. If you’re doing a good job of being you, then you aren’t pleasing everyone. Rejection can be a sign that you’re doing something right.
- There are no perfect matches.
As long as you are compatible when it comes to the important stuff, you can probably be happy at lots of schools. So relax. There are no wrong decisions.