On April 15, 2010 the New York Times printed an Op-Ed entitled “The Wait List is the Hardest Part.”  The editorial was written by Saffa Khan, a senior in high school who was waitlisted at four colleges.

The content of the article was of course valuable, and 17-year-old Saffa gets points for making a Tom Petty reference.  But I’m not concerned with her content.  The thing that caught my attention is simply that a high school senior got published in the New York Times!  Saffa took huge initiative, worked hard to write a piece that would be of value, and put it out there to the world.

If you were a college admissions committee, do you think you might take notice?wait list

This student stands out amongst all the others who just sit there, waiting, hoping, wondering.  She even stands out amongst the students who send additional essays, or letters about why X school is their first choice, or new letters of recommendation.  All those things might help you to get off the waitlist, but getting published in the New York Times takes the cake.

Do you have something you can achieve that is truly out of the ordinary?  Can you get published in a national newspaper?  Win a poetry, science or chess contest or competition?  Self-publish a book?  Solve a problem that hasn’t been solved?

If you’re serious about getting off the waitlist, my advice is to follow Saffa’s example – and stop waiting.

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