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How to Be a High School Superstar

How to Be a High School Superstar

How to Be a High School Superstar

作    者
Newport, Cal; Newport, Cal;  
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所属分类
Study Aids > College Entrance
出版社
Random House Inc
ISBN-13
9780767932585
ISBN-10
0767932587
出版日期
2010-07
页数
244
单位
尺寸
20.96 * 1.91 * 13.97
装帧
Paperback
版本

Product Description

Do Less, Live More, Get Accepted
 
 
What if getting into your reach schools didn’t require four years of excessive A.P.-taking, overwhelming activity schedules, and constant stress?
 
In How to Be a High School Superstar, Cal Newport explores the world of relaxed superstars—students who scored spots at the nation’s top colleges by leading uncluttered, low stress, and authentic lives. Drawing from extensive interviews and cutting-edge science, Newport explains the surprising truths behind these superstars’ mixture of happiness and admissions success, including:
 
·        Why doing less is the foundation for becoming more impressive.
·        Why demonstrating passion is meaningless, but being interesting is crucial.
·        Why accomplishments that are hard to explain are better than accomplishments that are hard to do.
 
These insights are accompanied by step-by-step instructions to help any student adopt the relaxed superstar lifestyle—proving that getting into college doesn’t have to be a chore to survive, but instead can be the reward for living a genuinely interesting life.
 

About the Author

CAL NEWPORT is the author of How to Win at College and How to Become a Straight-A Student. He graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a Ph.D. from MIT. His writing has appeared in national publications, and he is the founder of Study Hacks, the Web’s most popular student advice blog.
 
www.calnewport.com

Review

“As a former Ivy League admissions officer, I was overjoyed to see a book that hit the nail on the head regarding selective college admissions and how to take the process in stride. Students will find his book extremely useful and admissions officers will be relieved to see applicants who escape the cookie-cutter syndrome.”
 
—Dr. Michele Hernandez, author of A Is for Admission and president of Hernandez College Consulting and Application Boot Camp

“Disguised as a peppy college-admission guide, Newport’s book is actually a profound, life-affirming manifesto for ambitious high school students. Forgo the sleepless and cynical path to college acceptance. Instead, blaze your trail to the Ivy League by living a full life and immersing yourself in things that matter. Relax. Find meaning. Be you.”
 
—David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us
 
This book should be on the shelf of every student who wonders how to stand out in the increasingly competitive race to get into a top college. His approach will not only help you win the admissions race, it will keep you sane while you run the marathon.”
 
—Joie Jager-Hyman, author of Fat Envelope Frenzy

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Horseshoe Crabs and Blogs     

THE IDEA of drastically reducing your schedule probably sounds great in theory—who wouldn't want to enjoy an abundance of free time? But if you're like many students I've advised, you probably have reservations about the impact of such a lifestyle on your chances of getting into college. Running through the back of your mind is a simple logic: doing more is more impressive; therefore, by cutting back you're reducing your impressiveness, and this will hurt your admissions chances.   

You will soon come to understand that this is a flawed belief. The number and difficulty of your accomplishments play only a minor role in college applications. Other factors are much more important.  

Below, I introduce two students. The first, Olivia, dedicated only a handful of hours each week during the school year to extracurricular activities, yet still won a full-ride scholarship to the University of Virginia. The second, Jessica, was often able to finish her week's homework by Tuesday night—leaving the rest of the week free. She got accepted into the University of California, Berkeley, her dream school.  

Their stories will help acclimate you to the concept that light schedules can correspond with admissions success. In the chapters that follow, we'll dive into the details of exactly why this is true and how you can replicate these results.    

The Horseshoe Crab Effect   

In late March of 2008, Olivia, a high school senior from a small town near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was ushered into a room. She took a seat across from a semicircle of five distinguished-looking men and women. The group greeted her with wide smiles, but their eyes were serious and appraising. The cramped dimensions of the room surprised Olivia. A desk, littered with the standard collection of photo frames and computer accessories, encroached on the floor space, leaving Olivia and her inquisitors almost uncomfortably close. "It was so small," she recalls. "It was just someone's office."  

The mundane setting contrasted with the importance of the event taking place there. This was the final-round interview for the prestigious Jefferson Scholarship—an award that covered the full costs of attending the University of Virginia. Three months earlier, Olivia had been nominated by her high school for the prize. She had survived a round of regional interviews before being flown down to Charlottesville, Virginia—home to the university—for a battery of tests leading up to this interview. Over the past two days, Olivia had taken exams to assess her math and writing skills. She had also been given a packet of academic papers to read, and then placed in a conference room to debate their merits with other finalists while members of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation selection committee took notes. This final interview, however, held the most weight for the senior members of the foundation who would decide whether or not Olivia was Jefferson material.  

To better understand what constitutes Jefferson material, consider a student whom I'll call Laura Gant, who won the scholarship the previous year. Laura liked to write. As a high school student she interned at Business Week and had several pieces published on the magazine's Web site. She also won the Victor L. Ridder Scholarship, the National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Award in Writing, and the Harvard-Radcliff Book Award. Not surprising, she boasted exceptional grades that had earned her an almost embarrassingly long list of academic awards and scholarships. In addition, she's an artist and a talented musician—both voice and piano—who studied her craft seriously at a special music school in New York State. She rounded out her activity list by being the co-president of a school club, a member of the National Honor Society, and the co-founder of a community service group, and she was heavily involved in both the theater and choir groups at her high school.  

Laura is a sterling example of the standard thinking about college admissions. She distinguished herself in high school by demonstrating commitment to lots of activities. Her life, I imagine, must have been brutal—a constant stream of work driven by the persistent fear of falling short of perfection. In the end, however, the suffering paid off when she won the Jefferson. This is the type of student against whom Olivia had to compete.  

Olivia had never heard of Laura Gant, and this was probably for the best. Olivia's extracurricular involvements looked nothing like Laura's. Olivia didn't win armfuls of awards. She was not a star musician or an artist. She didn't start any organizations,or, for that matter, even participate in that many. Here's what she did do: to satisfy her school's athletic requirement, she joined the dance team, a commitment that required only four to five hours a week.  

"That was much better than the ten-plus hours you'd spend if you joined a real sports team," she told me.  

During her senior year she joined the tech crew for the school musical, but this counted as an elective class. She also co-chaired her senior class's community service organization.  

"In past years, the group marched in parades and held bake sales," she recalls. "My co-leader and I decided to not do that kind of thing. It really takes a lot of energy to organize high schoolers for things like that!"  

Instead, she and her co-leader shunted their classmates toward an existing community service program that organized a service trip that would take place soon after graduation.  

"Leading that group required, on average, about two hours a week," Olivia says. "It was not a huge commitment at all."  

During her sophomore summer, she was also a part-time unpaid volunteer at the University of New Hampshire's marine biology laboratory. (The professor who ran the lab was her family's next-door neighbor.) You'll learn more about what sparked her interest in marine biology later in Part 1; for now it's enough to know that she returned to the lab her junior summer as a paid research assistant and planned on doing the same her final summer before college.  

And that's about it.  

If you're keeping score, the above entailed six to seven hours of activities per week during the school year—leaving Olivia's afternoons, evenings, and weekends wonderfully free. She had more than enough time to keep up with her courses without resorting to late nights or experiencing stress. And this still left abundant time to relax. Olivia enjoyed her underscheduled lifestyle, and she looks back on high school fondly.  

She was not Laura Gant.  

On the surface, it seemed as if Olivia's prospects for winning the Jefferson Scholarship were dim. She had avoided the stress that comes from an overpacked schedule, but as she sat before the five men and women who would decide whether to grant her one of their alma mater's most prestigious honors, she worried that she was about to pay the price for her happiness.  

"At the time I felt really insecure about it. Maybe I should have played varsity soccer and lacrosse and, you know, become student council president," she recalls.  

Some pleasantries were exchanged, and then the interview began in earnest. "Tell me," one of the men said, "about those horseshoe crabs."  

With this question, the fear vanished from Olivia's mind. She knew how to talk about horseshoe crabs. The past two summers, she had spent every morning and every afternoon commuting to and from the UNH campus with her neighbor, the director of the lab where she worked, holding lively debates about the nuances of marine biology. 

"One morning—to give you an example—the professor began going on about a paper on particular neurotransmitters in the brain of lobsters," Olivia told me. "It wasn't his area of research, but he was fascinated anyway. It helped me understand that being a scientist isn't just about focusing on one small area; it can also be about being interested in huge, broad topics." This interest had seeped into Olivia's personal life, affecting what she read and what she thought about.  

The interview conversation soon turned to a book Olivia had recently read for fun: Emergence, by Steven Johnson—a look at how large-scale complex traits can arise from small-scale simple actions; for example, how thousands of ants following simple rules aggregate into an intelligently run colony. Olivia began to riff about the book. She discussed how studying the emergent traits of horseshoe crab populations, as Johnson had described researchers doing with ants, might yield new clues about the behavior of the crustaceans. She wanted to study both marine biology and environmental science at college so she could tackle interdisciplinary problems of this kind.  

Olivia's idea about emergence was original, but to her it was not particularly special. She loved the field of marine biology and was used to coming up with and debating ideas about it. This was simply what you did at the lab where she worked. It was a natural by-product of being genuinely interested in the subject.  

The five scholarship committee members, however, were entranced. They were used to students, like Laura Gant, who would enter that cramped office and give careful, official-sounding answers to their questions—never failing to miss an opportunity to highlight accomplishments from their lengthy resumes. They would say things like "My time spent volunteering at the local hospital taught me the importance of service." Or, "Being student council president is another example of my ability to lead."  

Olivia, on the other hand, ...