what makes a student stand out?

<p>Hello! Does taking advanced courses as an eighth grader make you stand out? What does ivy league colleges look for in a student?</p>

<p>Your eighth grade courses probably won't even go on your transcript. And may I offer a word of advice? Don't be that kid who goes through high school with the sole intent of getting in to an Ivy League. You won't enjoy yourself, you'll be unduly stressed out, and you're just not going to have the typical high school experience. Go to high school with the goal of having a fulfilling and fun four years where you'll be able to have a good time with your friends and do things you love. If you have what it takes, you'll probably end up with all the qualifications you need for an Ivy anyway. That's what I did - I never once did anything because it would "make me stand out" to colleges, only things that I truly wanted to do - and I'm currently in a pretty good position to get into most of the colleges I'm applying to. Will I get into all of them? Absolutely not, though I'm certainly qualified, and I had a great experience in high school along the way.</p>

<p>^ That's cute. Perhaps you're forgetting the OP is four years younger than you, and probably will apply to Harvard when it has a sub-3% acceptance rate.
Or maybe you're forgetting that many of her peers won't just be "enjoying high school" - they'll be working towards getting into Harvard/Ivy League schools. If she wants to compete with them, she's going to have to actively stand out and work towards it too. Unfortunately, that's the reality.</p>

<p>Anyway, Good Luck to you!</p>

<p>But if you're the sort of person who hates, hates, hates intense debate, but participates in it for hours a day because you hope it will give you a shot at the Ivy Leagues, you're going to be miserable and you're not going to get in, anyway. Obviously getting to a good college can be a goal of one's activities and grades; if you really don't enjoy getting high grades in challenging classes, and you don't find an extracurricular you enjoy at a high level, don't force it. Even if you did force yourself to become national champion of whatever, and get a 4.0 2400, and you didn't enjoy it? You probably wouldn't enjoy life at the colleges that effort won you acceptance to! "Take it easy," isn't good advice, but that isn't what Alex said. The test is: if you're looking back on your high school life having just been rejected from everything except your safety, would you still be satisfied with how you had done high school? The goal is for the answer to be yes. If the answer is "If I'd known I wouldn't get in, I would've had a little more fun rather than being on three varsity sports teams," I'd advise the kid to have the little more fun. If the answer is, "No, I'm glad I tried my hardest and had the best chance I could at admission to a better school," good for you, carry on.</p>

<p>
[quote]
^ That's cute. Perhaps you're forgetting the OP is four years younger than you, and probably will apply to Harvard when it has a sub-3% acceptance rate.
Or maybe you're forgetting that many of her peers won't just be "enjoying high school" - they'll be working towards getting into Harvard/Ivy League schools. If she wants to compete with them, she's going to have to actively stand out and work towards it too. Unfortunately, that's the reality.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>He wasn't saying "don't work toward it." He was saying don't do things for the sole reason that you perceive them as looking good for Harvard. Putting aside the need to correctly identify what looks good for Harvard, this is sound admissions advice because people do better at and achieve more in activities they enjoy.</p>

<p>The excellent advice from Alex might have fallen on some deaf ears :-).</p>

<p>Ah, I'm sorry then. I must have misunderstood.
But, in this world, my point, though slightly irrelevant, still stands :&lt;/p>

<p>I somehow agree with classicgirl. Only 'taking it easy' won't get you to Harvard. If you want to start now, there is one thing you can do. Find out what you love to do and do it as awesomely as you can in the next four years. And if you are even moderately intelligent and really passionate about that thing, you'll do well at it. That way, you'll also be able to enjoy the four years of your high school.
But since it's Harvard, keep grades and SATs up. They alone won't get you in, but they'll make you a probable candidate.
Have fun the next four years. Don't spend it dreaming about Harvard. Spend it doing what you love. :)</p>

<p>8th grade is really way to early to be starting to stress about colleges... I'd advise you to stay away from this side until your junior year. Trust me, it'll be better for your sanity. </p>

<p>I think what all the above posters are saying collectively is really, do what you're passionate about, and do it because you love it. And if you love what you're doing, you're going to excel, and it's that excellence and passion that will get you into Harvard. Just don't view it from the flipside. Don't start with "getting into Harvard" and then try to manufacture activities to set you apart.</p>

<p>^ Yep, exactly</p>

<p>start playing the marimba - or harp - or timpanies professionally</p>

<p>My I slightly disagree with Quickster? I agree w/the advice. Do something and grow from it. And you only might get into a place like Harvard. But even if you don't (which for everyone, is an extremely extremely likely outcome), you'll still be a driven and more complete individual. </p>

<p>In my experience, rarely does the kid obsessed with getting into an HYPSM really become the kind of kid who actually gets in. They tend to be un-original people, looking to fit a mold or to follow a path. Most actual HYPMS kids just do their own things, but excellently -- and they are the ones who get noticed.</p>

<p>So Harvardgirl: here's my final advice to you. 1) never refer to yourself as Harvardgirl ever again -- it's frankly so limiting. It's akin to being a collegiate Bieber fan club member 2) Push your self, find things you want to learn about and affect change in others.</p>

<p>"What makes a student stand out?"</p>

<p>Not asking this question makes a student stand out.</p>

<p>"Does taking advanced courses as an eighth grader make you stand out? "</p>

<p>Not at all.</p>

<p>"What does ivy league colleges look for in a student?"</p>

<p>Traits that involve not asking this question.</p>

<p>A friend who is an Ad Com member once said we are looking for the "wow" factor. That means that in some way there is no easy route-- there are things that statistically are necessary -- great grades, hard courses, strong scores, but they by themselves not sufficient. Try to do what you are PASSIONATE about doing and try to do it at the highest level you can-- be ice dancing, Japanese flower arraigning, math competitions.</p>

<p>As the ad com said-- we are necessarily looking for well rounded applications-- we are trying to create a well rounded class--mostly with "oblong" students. </p>

<p>But as has been stated above do things because you love them for their own sake, not merely because they will look good on an application-- you will waste your high school life and once that pattern is established and say you got in-- then would you "waste" your time at Harvard in order to get to grad/law/med school or job? and then once in grad/law/med school will you waste doing what you love for the best post-doc/job/residency? Get my drift? Live life with an eye toward the future but very much in the "now" or someday --even if your are what the world considers successful you will look back with regret.
Best of luck.</p>