How Leadership Can Help Students Shape Their Identity

July 21, 2016

Some students’ leadership roles become so central to their identity that their application would be incomplete without it. See how these five students from University of Southern California, Duke, UPenn, Williams College, and UC Berkeley used their leadership roles to craft their college application.


USC ‘19

With that inspiration, I started my theater organization: Giving Individuals Fabulous Theater (GIFT), with the mission of providing kids the opportunity to share their talents with those unable to experience live theater.

Initially, it was difficult to overcome peer reluctance to perform with a new theater group and persuade skeptical hospital staff to let us perform. Running GIFT turned out to be a much greater challenge than I anticipated. I did everything: producing, directing, scriptwriting, blocking choreography, teaching harmonies, coaching actors, coordinating six shows a weekend, and emotionally supporting the cast through their personal challenges. Keep reading…


University of Pennsylvania ‘19

You see, all I’ve really thought about since the sixth grade has been worldly independence - not the kind with car keys and credit cards and Red Solo cups. I mean sixties-style independence (sans marijuana, avec tasseled headbands): freedom from conformity; starting something that will be beautiful; making an impact on the world.

I’ve never seen things on a small scale. I wasn’t content building a LEGO house; I had to build a city. And I wasn’t content with a mundane school club, so I made one with 90 members, with yearly regional competitions and relationships with New York Times bestselling authors, schools foundations, NPR. I need to be great at what I love, and I won’t stop until I am. It’s not competition, it’s passion - desire that burns so much it hurts, it churns, it pernoctates. I want to do something that helps the world, and I want the recognition: the Nobel Prize in Medicine for my neuroscience research, the Pulitzer for my seventeenth novel, the Fortune 500 listing for my company.I want to leave a legacy. Read on…


Duke University ‘19

There is vast agreement in the forum that the lower participation and achievement of women in varsity debate is attributable, in part, to a form of sexism. I have witnessed that through the negative comments I have received about my clothing and voice and the barbed jokes told about successful women. I also noted a more insidious problem: coaches and judges have a view of a model debater - dressed formally, with a well-modulated voice, making slashing verbal attacks - that naturally leads them to favor male over female debaters. On top of this, I pointed out an issue shared by many female debaters: many of us have internalized the view of greater male suitability for debate. This view allows us to rationalize losses in tournaments to male debaters with big reputations as being tolerable, even inevitable. See more..


Williams College ‘19

A veteran member of the Robotics Team, I’ve participated in many exciting competitions and am always eager to tackle the next problem that comes our way. Recently, I spent weeks working on a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model, striving to make it perfect. My hard work paid off, and the achievement reminded me that I excel when I devote myself to a project. On the Leadership Council of my school’s Student Diversity Board (SDB), I’m responsible for organizing and planning social events celebrating different aspects of campus diversity. As a black and bisexual student, it’s important to me that our school emphasize not only recognition but inclusion and celebration of diversity, which is why I’m so dedicated to this council.  While my primary extracurricular activities have been Robotics and SDB, I recently discovered a love for theater, as well.  Continue reading…


University of California - Berkeley ‘20

So I adjusted. I quietly delighted in being mistaken as older and more experienced, and I began to mold myself into the new role I had assumed. I indulged in that prevalent childhood fantasy of fast-forwarding to being a grown-up, and soon found myself contributing something worthwhile rather than just struggling to keep afloat.

My experiences last summer do not fit neatly into my life back home. And that’s okay. As I move away from what’s familiar and become exposed to new worlds and new challenges, I expect—and hope—that they will not all seamlessly fit together. My summer experience was simultaneously jarring and encouraging. I look forward to finding myself in places and situations, and among people, that expand, distort, conflict, and continually butt heads with what is familiar in surprising and sometimes uncomfortable ways. Read on…

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About The Author

Nicki Strack, AdmitSee Intern
Nicki Strack, AdmitSee Intern

​Nicki is a high school senior at Marin Academy. She loves playing soccer, doing ceramics, and binge watching Netflix shows. As the second oldest of seven siblings she loves hanging out with her family and spending time outdoors.

Browse Successful Application Files

Williams ‘20

Accepted to Williams, Claremont (CMC), Amherst, Swarthmore, Pitzer, Northwestern, Tufts, WashU, Grinnell, Rice, Emory, LMU

I’m an Econ & Bio major who’s passionate about STEM, social issues, and design. As a transfer, I learned a lot from navigating this hectic process twice, and I’m excited to help!
UPenn ‘20

Accepted to UPenn

Hello! I'm a Freshman at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. I plan on concentrating in finance, marketing and social impact. In high school I was active in LGBTQ advocacy and music. I can help with any questions you have about admissions
Williams ‘19

Accepted to Utah, Colorado, Colby, Williams, SMCVT

Hi! I go by Izi and I am a current student at Williams College Class of 2019. I hope to be a biology or sociology major with a neuroscience concentration. I am on the NCAA Division 1 alpine ski team here.
USC ‘19

Accepted to USC, UMich, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Swarthmore, CMU, NYU, Vassar, Reed, Kenyon, UC Davis, Syracuse, CU, Fordham, Santa Clara, CSU Chico, CSUF, UC Riverside , UCSB, UCSC, Bard

Theater/business double major from classic and online highschool background. Here to help navigate audition and business interview processes! On full tuition scholarship

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