Make your kids be more interesting

Sorry, this is not how to do that, it’s why you should – and how in this day of everyone studying for exams yet not learning anything, being interesting gets you through doors. In this case, The Atlantic magazine specifically means through the doors at Harvard, but the principle works everywhere:

“We could fill our class twice over with valedictorians,” Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival, sponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, on Monday. That means admissions officers rely on intangibles like interesting essays or particularly unusual recommendations to decide who comprises the 5.9 percent of applicants who get in.

Faust’s top tip for raising a Harvard man or woman: “Make your children interesting!”

For parents and students alike, that’s both good news and bad news. The bad news is that of course it’s much easier to say that than to actually make it happen, though Faust recommended encouraging children to follow their passions as a way to develop an interesting personality. It’s much easier to complete a checklist, however daunting, than to actually be interesting.

How to Get Into Harvard – David A Graham, The Atlantic (30 June 2014)

There’s not a great deal more to the full article but I found it an encouraging read.

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