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March 7, 2022

2 Minutes Read

Hi everyone,

While the majority of our 11th graders are well underway way with their application process, it's not too late to approach the the admissions process with style. 

To give our students the attention they deserve, our counselors each work with a limited number of students. I'm writing to let you know that we currently have 9 spots remaining for students in the class of 2023. If you're interested in 1-to-1 guidance please don't wait to reach out. 

As always, you can reply directly to this email or drop us a note here. We'll be happy to discuss your circumstances and which of our services may be a good fit.

Today, I want to share the beginnings of The "Genius Zone" Admissions Strategy. 

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🧠The  "Genius Zone" Admissions Strategy


An active strategic approach to college admissions starts by looking at the big picture — How can any student stand out from so many other well-qualified applicants?

Because admission officers must concisely synthesize each application for a committee, the answer lies in developing a coherent story across all aspects of the application—an application persona—that is as easily understood as it is compelling. Think of it as Rick Clark, Dean of Admission at Georgia Tech, says— the one sentence that a student wants an Admissions Officer to remember them by.  

At PCC, we call this sentence the Genius Zone. Your Genius Zone is a beacon for your application that gets expressed in a sentence (or 2), but it’s also an organizing principle for making key decisions throughout high school. It’s therefore both your desired reputation and an action plan. Importantly, however, neither one is static. Your Genius Zone creates a virtuous cycle to propel you forward.  

The Genius Zone is rooted in psychology and entrepreneurship. 

To a large extent, we are the story we tell ourselves. Yet, our story doesn’t just follow after the fact of experience, it also precedes and helps create our experience. We know that some stories are more inspiring to us, but many students don’t realize the power they have to shape their own narrative. Our work together is about realizing your most empowering story. 

Renowned psychologist Victor Frankl is more specific. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he illuminates the power of developing a life with a deep sense of purpose. This concept is a key tenet of The Genius Zone; College applicants will stand out by pursuing and telling the story of what gives their lives meaning and purpose.

Second, we live in a culture defined by the marketplace. Brands vie for our attention in a crowded, competitive world. It’s not enough just to distinguish themselves with a good product, they must also differentiate themselves in the market. 

In his book, Zero to One, the famous investor Peter Thiel asserts that there are two kinds of entrepreneurs (think college applicants)—competitors and monopolists. Competitors try to stand out from their peers in an existing market, while monopolists seek to create a new market without competition. 

Another metaphor is that in a crowded sea of red, applicants can stand out by looking for the wide-open “blue ocean.” Most college applicants are not going to avoid the sea of competitive applicants altogether, but you can swim away from your peers. 

Ultimately, your Genius Zone is developed by deepening, combining, and integrating existing interests— i.e. authentically cultivating who you are then connecting the dots. 

To discuss how we can work together to develop your Genius Zone and make sure you put your best foot forward on college apps, click here

For students in 9th and 10th grade interested in personalized 1-to-1 guidance on how to manage the college planning and preparation process, PCC is here for you too. To get in touch click here