Performance activism: A new way to boost your college admissions chances

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Heading into the next college admissions cycle, many parents are worried about their students’ prospects into elite schools.

You might ask yourself, what are the best extracurriculars to best position my student to gain admission to these top universities? Should they do research? Should they start a non-profit? Should they pursue activities that they actually enjoy doing? No, Susan. Unless you want them to fail miserably. 

There is a single extracurricular that will increase your chances for admission: performative activism. Every single university will be mesmerized by your child’s ability to repost and share the same Instagram post to their story. It shows that your child is a passionate steward of their community. 

I recently spoke with Jen R. Ationalwealth, a student who defied the odds and gained admission into Trump University. She describes herself as a staunch performative activist. 

“I have an obligation to post aesthetically pleasing Instagram stories about issues I don’t really care about or understand. For me it was really important to spread awareness of these issues and get into a good college because I really needed to feed my parents’ elitist attitudes toward postsecondary education.” 

Her new social media campaign is an issue very close to her heart. “My church has this youth program called ‘Christ-Centered Colonization,’ and it’s really opened my eyes to the injustice in the world. But I feel like people think our work is inauthentic, so I feel as though we need to normalize the white savior complex.” 

Looking ahead to the future, Ationalwealth really wants to improve her activism. “I admit, intersectionality is an important thing, and I haven’t really done it in high school. But protesting in intersections is important work, even if there’s a risk of getting hit by a car.” 

The student has also campaigned against affirmative action. “Look, my ancestors worked very hard to exploit their workers. Just because my family comes from Gilded Age money doesn’t mean that I should be disadvantaged in the admissions process.”

So if you’re worried about your child’s application, don’t be. Just tell them to find an issue they’re vaguely aware of and spread awareness of it. That’s what colleges are really looking for nowadays. 

Contact Robert Castaneros at rcastane ‘at’ stanford.edu

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