The biggest mistake an average high school student makes is not in choosing what to do but in choosing what not to do. From the minute they enter high school, the number one goal in their mind is not necessarily defined by what they feel truly connected to, but instead they focus more on what their guidance counselors, family friends, random bloggers and other people seem to think is the best activity to get into a top university. Students are encouraged to follow the path that others think will guarantee them admission to the top universities. This is the wrong strategy. Your goal during high school is not to do what colleges find admirable in you, but instead to discover what you find admirable about yourself. The four years of high school are less about walking upon a determined path, than they are about creating a brand-new path for others to follow. Once you walk through those high school doors, you will have many opportunities to choose which direction you want to go. The key to choosing the right direction is not in choosing what others tell you, what you think colleges will like, or what you think your parents will like, but in choosing what you feel you will enjoy, what you feel passionate about.
When you sit down to fill out your college application, it is less of an autobiography or a resume, and more of an art piece. You need to learn to use the college application to express who you are. Do not exaggerate on your application, because it will be apparent to an experienced eye. For example, if you spent three hours a week working on your research project, do not increase that to five hours, because you will not have the equivalent results to show. In the next few sections of this chapter, I will describe some of the potential outlines for your art piece. These are by no means an end-all be-all list of what you can be passionate about and how you can express it. You can mix and match the following traits, but it is best to stick to one or two different passions. If you can make them intersect in someway, that will show your creativity. The descriptions are simply a starting point from which you can expand and diversify into your own masterpiece.