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In my opinion, something which should be given a lot of weight in an application is the student’s involvement in his or her community, whether it is in school or outside of school. Being involved in the community encompasses many things, from being a member of the school’s newspaper staff to participating in the local outreach program to disadvantaged communities. A student who has been actively involved in the community during high school has a good chance of becoming a contributing member of society both during college and after graduating. To me, this is important because I believe that the ultimate goal of a higher education is to give back to society in some way, whether it is using one’s education to become a research scientist and strive for the cure for cancer, or becoming a professor and helping enrich the minds of future generations.
For me, perhaps the most important factor which determines whether or not a student is suitable for a college cannot be found in either transcripts or standardized test scores but is actually within the student: his or her attitude toward learning. Someone who regards learning as a chore, a necessary evil required to get good grades and maintain a 4.0, will not truly profit from a challenging college. College should be an exhilarating experience which opens up new ways of thinking and provides fertilizer to fecund minds; the reason behind going to a prestigious college should not be to get a high-paying job later or to be able to brag to one’s friends. Someone who possesses an actual love of learning, who finds learning stimulating and at times even epiphanal, will not only be able to take advantage of the diverse opportunities offered in college but will also enjoy the experience.
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