Last week, I took my 13-year old daughter, Sophie, to see the Broadway musical, "Hamilton." For the past several years, I felt like the only adult in America who hadn't seen it. I was a bit ashamed. If anyone knew how special Alexander Hamilton was, it was me.
For four snowy years of college, I spent all of my free time outside of class giving admissions tours to parents and students visiting my college—Hamilton. I would regale them with how Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, wrote essay after essay (sound familiar to those rising high school seniors these days?), and was the trustee and namesake of this beautiful college we were standing on.
I wanted the visitors to understand how special he was. Most of the time, his legacy didn't resonate with them like it did for me. He wasn't George Washington. He wasn't Thomas Jefferson. He was an orphan; an immigrant; a forgotten.
It reminded me of the college admissions process.
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If you get tired of writing all of those supplemental essays already, think of Alexander Hamilton and the "Federalist Papers." While John Jay wrote five and James Madison wrote 29, Hamilton wrote a whopping 51 "essays." Don't worry. You won't need to write that many essays to get into college. But when you feel like you can't write another supplemental essay, channel Hamilton's motivation. This is your shot.
And if you think that you aren't polished enough and not sophisticated enough for a certain college, or even college itself, think again. College is a great equalizer. Those who work hard, succeed. Plain and simple.
One of my favorite lines in the musical was when Alexander Hamilton admits, "The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish." I was reminded of how I felt going to Hamilton. One of my high school teachers told me I wasn't good enough to go to college. That statement was my motivation. At Hamilton, I was surrounded by students who came from fancy boarding schools and a whole lot of polish.