As a freshman of the UConn Class of 2018, I’ve heard plenty of statistics about the 3,500 students like me that began their college experience last month. Higher average SAT scores, more students in the honors program, and more diverse than any previous UConn class. The statistic that drew my attention the most, however, was the competition to get into UConn. Over 32,000 kids applied for the 6,000-student freshmen class (source:http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2014/08/uconns-incoming-students-set-new-records/). So for every one of us sitting in a dorm reading this blog for the first time, there were about five or six other people who wanted to take that seat from you.
So with all of that competition for this year’s graduating class, why were we chosen to be UConn students? Let’s have a little review of the admissions tips we all constantly heard in high school. There are, of course, the obvious stylistic points: grades, SAT scores, what classes you took, etc. I’m sure I can speak for the majority of students, however, when I say that the biggest piece of advice that any admissions officer, counselor, or administrator continually made was to get involved. Volunteer, join school clubs, play sports, get into theatre; these were the things that defined us in high school, and more than likely got us into this college over the other thousands of people that applied.
Over the next four years, the story does not change. For many of us, however, the preparation will not be for admission to the lest level of schooling; rather, it will be to build your work resume in order to begin your career. The ways to better your chances of getting a job, however, do not change. Sure, you can simply get all of the classwork done for four years and walk out of Gampel Pavilion in May of 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree and other academic formalities that make you well qualified for a job in your field, but employers today are increasingly looking for more than just that. In recent polls by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, employers have been asking for innovative students who are passionate about their career field. They want students who specialize in a certain talent on top of the broad range of skills you can get out of a college degree. I’m sure you’ve heard about UConn’s plethora of clubs and organizations that range from social to career, but they are only what you make of it. Take the time to find your passion here, and build the connection that can take you across the country and around the world doing the things that you love. Build your leadership qualities, develop connections between faculty, students, and potential employers, and most importantly, have fun doing it. That way, when employers are looking at your resume, you can be confident that you will again be the one that they choose, and not be one of the five looking in.