Personal Branding to Land Your Dream College

Blog, Personal Branding / Dream College, Personal Branding / November 8, 2016

Personal Branding to Land Your Dream College

Dream College

Landing your dream college is all about communicating who you are to the admissions counsellor. A carefully crafted personal brand is the perfect way to educate them about who you are and why they will want you as part of their college.

Harvard published an article on what they are looking for in their college applicants. Here is their list:

Growth and Potential

  1. Have you reached your maximum academic and personal potential?
  2. Have you been stretching yourself?
  3. Have you been working to capacity in your academic pursuits, your full-time or part-time employment, or other areas?
  4. Do you have reserve power to do more?
  5. How have you used your time?
  6. Do you have initiative? Are you a self-starter? What motivates you?
  7. Do you have a direction yet? What is it? If not, are you exploring many things?
  8. Where will you be in one, five, or 25 years? Will you contribute something to those around you?
  9. What sort of human being are you now? What sort of human being will you be in the future?

Interests and Activities

  1. Do you care deeply about anything—intellectual? Extracurricular? Personal?
  2. What have you learned from your interests? What have you done with your interests? How have you achieved results? With what success or failure? What have you learned as a result?
  3. In terms of extracurricular, athletic, community, or family commitments, have you taken full advantage of opportunities?
  4. What is the quality of your activities? Do you appear to have a genuine commitment or leadership role?
  5. If you have not had much time in high school for extracurricular pursuits due to familial, work, or other obligations, what do you hope to explore at Harvard with your additional free time?

Character and Personality

  1. What choices have you made for yourself? Why?
  2. Are you a late bloomer?
  3. How open are you to new ideas and people?
  4. What about your maturity, character, leadership, self-confidence, warmth of personality, sense of humor, energy, concern for others, and grace under pressure?

These are great questions, but how will you express these areas of interest to the admissions counsellors? Ideally through a polished, spirited, exceptional personal brand! Your personal brand will answer every question from the list above. It will define who you are, what you have done and what you are passionate about.

How will my personal brand be communicated you might ask? The communication will be online. Today, the internet is the first place admissions counsellors go to get information about the applicant that is not on the application. What can you do to make sure that the results of their google search are outstanding? You can answer the above questions with a carefully crafted personal brand that shows up consistently through the five elements of your personal brand listed below.

Five Elements of a Personal Brand Designed to Land a Dream College

Brand Story

Brand Identity

Social Media

Passion Blog

Personal Website

Each element is instrumental in the perfect communication of your personal brand to land your dream college. Let’s look at each element in more depth.

Brand Story

A personal brand story communicates your value (what you are the best at), your audience (who you serve), and your promise (how you perform your value uniquely). As a high school student, you’re story will focus around personal interests or passions and extracurricular activities. Your brand story will describe to your audience (the college admissions counsellor), what makes you unique? What makes you stand out? Basically, it will answer all of the above questions: your growth and potential, your interest and activities and your character and personality. 

Brand Identity

The visible elements of a brand (such as color, design, logo, icon, font, tone, photography) that together identify and distinguish your brand in the mind of your audience. You can think of this the way you think about getting dressed. How do you want to be perceived? Do you want to be: casual and hip, classic and elegant or urban and edgy? The elements in your brand identity will speak your unique brand personality. They will be the first things that the college admissions counsellor experiences about you. 

Social Media

Every status update, tweet, pin and gram that you make has the potential to show up on a google search when the admissions counsellor types your name. Therefore potential admissions counsellors are likely to visit your social media networks. A branded custom header, headshot, profile and picture card for each of your social media networks is important to express an exceptional personal brand. It is also important to curate content that is consistent with your brand story. Everything you share has a reflection either good or bad on your personal brand. 

Passion Blog

You can position yourself as a thought leader through a highly targeted blog that focuses on your passion and brand story. A passion blog is a place to publish your experiences, perspective and point of view on your passion. Through your blog you can answer every one of the questions from above. It is a place where the admissions counsellor can learn about what makes you tick and who you are as a human being. Your passion blog will feature your character and personality. In anticipation for your dream college admissions application, you can create a special blog post that focuses on areas that you believe the admissions counsellor will want to know, but that’s not the only post they will read. The remainder of your posts will be carefully crafted to express your brand story and to highlight who you are today and who you see yourself becoming in the future. 

Personal Website

Your website is the first thing that will come up when someone Googles your name. It is your greatest asset. It will include your resume, testimonials, a photo gallery and a blog. Your website is the engine, your blog is the fuel. You will use your brand identity for every area of the site’s look, feel and tone. A prospective admissions counsellor will find everything they need to know about you right here on your branded website. They will be completely and utterly impressed by you. Several years ago, I created my own branded website that was found by a prospective employer. That website landed me the interview and ultimately assisted greatly in landing me the job. This is the most important online communication vehicle for your personal brand.

If you would like to develop your personal brand, contact Amanda to learn the next steps. You can find Amanda’s contact details on the contact page of this site.

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