If you were in a room with 100 other people, what would make you unique?
My friends and I play this game sometimes, posing that question and sharing our answers. It’s a fun little diversion as we’re waiting for the check at dinner, and it’s always an interesting exercise in self-reflection.
In my little group, the most unique responses include being a magician and knowing how to do taxidermy. I feel pretty confident that if those two individuals found themselves in a room with 100 strangers, they almost certainly would be the only amateur magician and taxidermist among them!
Of course, not everyone has such a clear-cut, standalone thing. But I truly believe that everyone can come up with at least one characteristic, skill, or experience that truly sets them apart, if they give it enough thought.
Now, as you venture into your college search, as you think about what you want in a school—and what a school might want from you—ask yourself: what is my one-in-100 thing?
We’re always advocating introspection in the college search, urging students to think about what they really want from their college years and their ideal institution. Figuring out those little details that set you apart can make a big difference in whittling down your choices or exposing yourself to schools you might not have considered at first.
It also makes a difference when you apply. Your one-in-100 thing can elevate your application from a not-so-memorable one to a standout. And as a college applicant in a sea of hundreds—if not thousands—of others, you definitely want to stand out.
That unique, one-in-100 thing might also be your ticket to scholarships. As we like to say around the CollegeXpress office, there’s a scholarship for everything. (With literally billions of dollars in scholarship money out there, how could there not be?) Whether you’re a scuba instructor, a jewelry maker, or, oh yes, a taxidermist, there are scholarships out there for which you are uniquely eligible!
The magician I referenced? He swears his personal statement and application describing his magical experiences are what not only earned him an offer of admission but a nice scholarship too. Of course, no one can verify that his magical ways are what sealed the deal, but it is in keeping with what admission counselors have been telling us for years: tell the story no one else can tell.
My magician and taxidermist friends aren’t necessarily defined by these skills either. They just happen to be unique, not to mention intriguing, interests. (Clearly, they seemed like good examples for this blog post!)
As for my one-in-100 thing? It could be my obsession with grammar or with literature. It could be my penchant for trivia or for choral singing. Or that time the letter I wrote as a 13-year-old to author Amy Tan was a finalist for some sort of congressional “Letters About Literature” thingy . . . and wouldn’t you know it, that contest does have a scholarship associated with it! (Think they’ll accept an application that’s 10 years late?!)
What’s your one-in-100 thing? Has it influenced your college journey? Let us know in the comments.