Having established their personal brand, students will be set to incorporate their values, strengths, passions, and purpose in personal statements and essays. While they can learn from past successful applicants to see how they inject their brand into statements and essays, it’s each student’s unique offer to a university, faculty, and programme that’s crucial.
Universities are businesses looking for increased financial support, higher placement in university rankings, and greater positive publicity, so encourage students to show them the benefits of their brand. They want to know what a student can offer as a well-rounded person, how they will flourish in their community, and what difference they can make to the wider world.
“We strive to understand each applicant as a potential Penn classmate, leader, roommate, and citizen. We look beyond GPAs and test scores to capture the intangible qualities each candidate will bring to our campus community… Let us hear your authentic voice. Tell us your story.” – University of Pennsylvania.
While it isn’t yet standard practise for universities to look at online profiles in the admissions process, if you want the best chance of securing a place at your dream university, leave nothing to chance. You don’t want to labour over paper applications and prepare meticulously for interviews, only to find a Google search on your name throws up images and comments long since forgotten.
Building a personal brand is a journey. Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Angela Merkel, and Usain Bolt have all built authentic, unique, and consistent personal brands over time. You may change direction but keeping your values, strengths and mission in mind, every step takes you towards a university course and career that’s right for you. In the words of University of Pennsylvania founder Benjamin Franklin: “What you seem to be, be really.” Above all, enjoy the journey.