Funny how this post about the 7-Eleven approach to college apps is going up on 7-11. Total coincidence. That aside, we know you’re scratching your head here: what’s the 7-11 approach to applying?
Well, scratch a little longer because first… some trivia about 7-Eleven convenience stores. The chain was founded at an icehouse in Dallas, TX back in 1927 when an entrepreneurial dock worker realized that they could increase sales by supplying goods like milk and butter along with their ice block deliveries. Voila! The first convenience store was born. Since then, the 7-Eleven chain has grown to over $10,000,000,000 in annual revenue with more than 30,000 stores worldwide, and has introduced such well-known products like the Slurpee.
So, how does this tie in to applying to college? Simple: applying to college should be just as easy as going to 7-Eleven.
Okay, so sadly, it rarely turns out that way, but still the idea behind 7-Eleven’s success (convenience) is also the key to your success. You have to make it convenient for an admissions officer to select your application. No one wants to be second guessed in their decision in front of the rest of the admissions committee; no one wants to put in the extra work to find out if you are truly qualified or not. You want to make it *easy* for them to pick you.
How do you accomplish making yourself an easy pick? Obviously, good grades, excellent SAT or ACT scores, diverse and committed extracurricular activities, and strong recommendations help a great deal. However, beyond that, you still have to work to make things easy for them. Make sure your personal statement is well-written, easy to understand, and absolutely 100% free of typos or other grammatical / spelling mistakes. Make sure all your required documents are submitted on time, if not early. Make sure your letters of recommendation tell a consistent story by discussing what you want said in those letters with your recommenders beforehand (more on this in a future post).
Okay, so you nailed the convenience part. Now what? There are many convenience stores – what makes 7-Eleven different? Ah, that’s the second part of the strategy: be memorable.
In some ways, this ties back in to the first part, making it easy for a college admissions officer to select your application. Being memorable means you take the time to show the admissions officer your true personality. This tends to be best reflected in your personal statement and your activities. Use those areas to highlight aspects of your background that might otherwise go unnoticed. For example, why is 7-Eleven named “7-Eleven”? Well, the owners wanted a way to remind shoppers that their hours had been extended to 7 am to 11 pm. Coincidentally, the numbers rhyme well together, so the name stuck. Furthermore, the brand went on to develop unique, memorable items such as the Slurpee.
Lastly, for those of you earlier along the way to college, 7-Eleven is also a good way to think of your timelines here. Your academic record from 7th to 11th grade determines 99% of what a college will consider. When you reach that final year, you have roughly the 7th to 11th month (July to November) to put your application together. And you’ll spend about 7 to 11 weeks waiting to hear back from colleges.
So, now that you know what to do – get started by figuring out one thing you can do today to help you reach your goals for college. And, you might as well enjoy a Slurpee while you’re doing it!