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Path to My Dream College - How to Stand Out?

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

By T.D.

“Just being you” can be hard. Especially for teenagers who are in the process of building the person they want to be in adulthood. In this article, one of our advising students shares her experiences being a Veritas Education advisee since 10th grade. She talks about the ways advising helped to discover who she is, how to be her best self, and how to show that self to college admission committees and the world. Thank you so much, T.D., for sharing your journey with us. We’re sure that you’ll do great things!


Walking into the Veritas office as a timid 10th grader, I was unsure of what to expect during my first session with my advisor. I remember clearly one question she asked me, and this one question ended up becoming a significant component of my advising experience - “What is your passion?” At first, I sat there in complete silence, flipping through all my activities in my head, hopelessly searching for an answer. The truth was, I wasn’t sure. Or, to be honest with myself, I didn’t have one. And that is the gap - the challenge - that Veritas advising service helped me to overcome. They provided a safe space where my advisor and I could bounce ideas around and for me to discover what activities made me feel fulfilled. When I struggled with my Common Application, unable to find that one aspect that would set me apart from other applicants, the advising team helped me to uncover my motivations and passions. They allowed me to realize the activities and moments that brought along the greatest growth in my journey.

Over the past two years, I have become more outgoing and more confident, whether it be during a club meeting or as part of a sports team. I have learned that I have a passion for sharing, educating, and healing others. I have also learned to accept that it is okay not to specialize at a young age but that my multitude of experiences in different fields is what has allowed me to meet and work with new people and experience things outside of my comfort zone.

After my first meeting, my parents gave me a choice to continue the sessions. I chose to come back because Veritas’s advising method provided a pathway for self-reflection and discovery. Open discussion and planning allowed me to clearly see what motivated me and demonstrated why I enjoyed helping and learning from others. I learned that my once introverted personality also had a talkative, extroverted side. And in the presence of others with different experiences and passions, I developed a desire to grow through what they had to share. In two years, my “dream school” changed several times. But in the end, I settled on Johns Hopkins as the place where I could fulfill my passions and career goals. Sessions with my advisor helped me to realize why I enjoyed medicine and psychology and how the thing that unified all my activities was a drive to learn about people, to sympathize with them, and to help.

My college application experience was a new kind of difficult. I struggled to find a starting point for my essays; I felt like all my extracurriculars were all over the place. Nonetheless, my advisor provided me the spark, the momentum, to get me writing. They helped me understand what set me apart from others - the combination of experiences and stories that are unique to me. With that, I was able to portray my individuality, the diversity of my experiences, and a capacity to think and grow creatively.

In recommending Veritas to other students, I would say that we all have more to learn about ourselves, especially during our high school years. Veritas helps pinpoint the areas that define our passions and fuel our desire for change, allowing us to grow. Veritas taught me where I could make the biggest impact and how I could use that to show my growth to admissions officers, and get into the college of my dreams.


We are very happy for T.D. for getting into her ED/dream school! If you want to learn how to be an authentic self and are interested in our advising services, you can find more information here on our website: And feel free to join us at our upcoming college application workshop on 6/7 to learn more about how to be yourself and stand out!

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