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How to Be a High School Superstar
Cover of How to Be a High School Superstar
How to Be a High School Superstar
A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)
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Do Less, Live More, Get Accepted What if getting into your reach schools didn't require four years of excessive A.P. classes, overwhelming activity schedules, and constant stress? In How to Be a High...
Do Less, Live More, Get Accepted What if getting into your reach schools didn't require four years of excessive A.P. classes, overwhelming activity schedules, and constant stress? In How to Be a High...
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  • Do Less, Live More, Get Accepted

    What if getting into your reach schools didn't require four years of excessive A.P. classes, 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.

Excerpts-

  • From the book 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...

About the Author-

  • Cal Newport graduated from Dartmouth College, earned a Ph.D. from MIT, and is now an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University. He's the author of five books, including most recently the Wall Street Journal business bestseller Deep Work. He also runs the popular blog Study Hacks, which explores the impact of technology on our ability to perform productive work and lead satisfying lives. His contrarian ideas have been featured on many major media platforms, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Economist and NPR. Visit him online at calnewport.com.

Reviews-

  • Dr. Michele Hernandez, author of A Is for Admission and president of Hernandez College Consulting and Application Boot Camp

    "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."

  • David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us "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."
  • Joie Jager-Hyman, author of Fat Envelope Frenzy "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."

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How to Be a High School Superstar
How to Be a High School Superstar
A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)
Cal Newport
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A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)
Cal Newport
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