Twitter is abuzz with #mondaymotivation, with 93.8K tweets so far today. Yes, Twitter is transformed into an extremely motivating place on Mondays! For instance:
“Dream big, work hard, stay focused, and surround yourself with good people.”
“Never allow the fear of failure to dissuade you from getting started. Be bold. Be brave.”
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”
“Over time, grit is what separates fruitful lives from aimlessness.”
Thanks, Twitter! And thank you also for getting the wheels turning on today’s blog post. Today we turn our attention to the topic of grit. It’s a term that is coming up more frequently in reference to college admissions. Are you an individual who has shown grit in your life? Have you demonstrated courage and resolve? Do you have strength of character? Tenacity? Perseverance? Resiliency?
The personal characteristics associated with grit are clearly more subjective attributes than objective measures, like test scores, your high school GPA, and the number of AP exams you took. As such, determining grit is a greater challenge during the college application process than, say, seeing if you aced your standardized tests. Still, your essay (and we can help you with that) presents a great opportunity to delve into this trait. ZeeMee, an organization that helps to “bring your college application to life”, can also be very helpful in showing admissions officers this trait.
And why, you may ask, are colleges so interested in candidates who’ve got grit? The short answer is that grit has been shown to be a predictor of success, both academically and in life. And who, you may ask, has demonstrated this? Readers, meet Angela Lee Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania’s Duckworth Lab – she’s studying grit as a predictor of success, and her findings are really interesting! For instance, in April of 2013 she gave a TED Talk on the topic, the highlights from which were:
- “What struck me (when I was teaching 7th graders math) was that IQ was not the only difference between my best and my worst students…I came to the conclusion that what we need in education is a much better understanding of students and learning from a motivational perspective, from a psychological perspective.”
- “I started studying kids and adults in all kinds of super challenging settings, and in every study my question was, ‘Who was successful here and why?’ In all those very different contexts, one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success – and it wasn’t social intelligence, it wasn’t good looks, physical health, or IQ. It was grit.”
- She also administered grit questionnaires to thousands of high school juniors and “it turns out that grittier kids were significantly more likely to graduate.”
Are you curious to know how you fare on a scale of grit? To learn if you’re “extremely gritty”, “not at all gritty”, or somewhere in between, click here to access the UPenn Grit Scale! Even just reading the twelve questions on the assessment gives you a pretty clear idea of why colleges are interested in recruiting students who display this personal characteristic – these are the students who are most likely to succeed in their studies, to graduate on time, and to make their alma mater proud with their post-graduation accomplishments!
If you scored low on the grit scale, fear not – grit can be learned and improved upon, and not only to boost your odds of acceptance at your top-choice schools (though that’s great) but to help improve your odds of success in all that you tackle in life. For instance, KIPP (“a national network of open-enrollment, college-prep public schools preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life”) has picked up on the importance of grit, and offers some great advice on working to improve one’s strength of character. Grit your teeth and come to grips with grit! #mondaymotivation