There’s no way around needing good grades. Many universities and colleges have a GPA cut off as an easy way to shortlist applicants. They want to ensure that students can handle the calibre of academics in the next stage of school and that students have a strong work ethic.
If you’re struggling academically and want to do better, reach out to your teacher or guidance counsellor and figure out how to get your grades up. Good teachers want to help their students succeed.
This is especially true for scholarship applications - you want to stand out! Schools are going to remember you as “that student who is really good at trapezing” or “the kid who started a business with $200”. It’s easy to look at your peers, feel FOMO and want to do the extracurriculars that they’re doing. But instead, try something new, figure out what you are interested in, and pursue it with confidence! Don’t be scared of failing. These are merely opportunities to learn. If it feels a little uncomfortable, you’re stretching yourself to become better.
It’s easy to come out of an experience, like a music recital or case competition and think about how fun it was. But take that extra step and think about why you liked it. Did you like the brainstorming session with your team? Did you like becoming an expert at something? Did you like sharing your love of a topic with the rest of the world? This type of introspection not only gives you the maturity and self-awareness that you can clearly articulate on a university / college essay but it also helps you narrow down extracurriculars you want to pursue.
Undoubtedly in your life, you’re going to need to work with people - sometimes in a leadership role and other times as a team member. You’re going to run into team members that you get along with easily and others that you butt heads with. Starting early can help you try out different leadership styles. You will learn how to adapt your approach to different people to motivate, influence and inspire them.
You don’t know what you don’t know, so find ways to learn more. Make friends in different social circles. Seek mentors in different fields. Read. Ask questions. Seriously, ask ALL the questions. Be bold enough to form your own opinions but not so stubborn as to ignore new information and other perspectives.
We know you already have a lot going on and not all of these tips will come naturally. But just by reading this article, you’re opening up your mind to change and growth and that’s a huge step! Feel free to share with friends and family!
Ashley Qian participated in BETA Camp in Summer 2021. Amidst strict lockdowns, Ashley found a community of driven and ambitious students that made her braver, and more ambitious. Ashley is now working on a project that helps dementia patients through virtual reality, alongside a new role as chapter development officer for Ontario DECA.
Incoming high school senior, creative agency founder, and BETA Camp alumni Jane Wu tells us about her experiences in entrepreneurship— from prototypes of sanitization products to newsletters and graphic design.
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