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Image from Pexels

Confidence always seems to be this magical life changing thing that everyone keeps talking about. But I’m here to tell you how it can impact your college application process and where you can find some of this magic for yourself.

What exactly is confidence?

Besides being part magic, confidence is defined as “a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something” (Merriam-Webster). This confidence can be the belief in yourself which is also commonly referred to as self confidence, but others put confidence in things as well.

Confidence and the Admissions Process

Many people have yet to realize that the admissions office at a college or university is putting their confidence in the applicants that they accept. They have the faith that these individuals will do well at their institution. Confidence and sureness in presentation at interviews can positively impact your chances of admissions.

How do you become more confident?

It’s a journey. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Take some deep breaths and think about yourself

With these breaths really fill your body. Breathe into your stomach, not your chest (your shoulders should minimally move when performed properly). Something monumental I’ve learned in the past year or two is that the way you hold yourself and move through the world non-verbally shows others how you feel about yourself. People will sometimes think “Wow they really look comfortable and sure.” But the same also is true for people who look uncomfortable or like they are less than confident. When dealing with freshman at my university in the research department, I’ve found myself thinking “Hm… if you don’t trust you, why should I?” or “How much do you really care about what I’m offering if you don’t care about your presentation?”

2. Look in the mirror and adjust

I’m not talking about losing weight or anything of that sort. While looking at yourself, observe how you hold yourself. Are you slumping forward? Do you push your shoulders back and keep your chest up? These are often interpreted as synonymous with the person’s confidence and their view of themselves.

3. Dress the part

Wear what makes you feel comfortable, but try to be as appropriate as possible for the situations you are in. Many times, anything will fly because there is no set or expected dress standard. But during your interview, you should dress very well and remain modest so keep shirts buttoned and pants/skirts on the longer side. Thrift stores are wonderful places to get appropriate clothes if you don’t want to break the bank.

Pro tip: Wear the clothes you plan on wearing to an interview beforehand so you get used to them. You want to know what to expect of your clothes when you walk into the office for the interview. By doing this ahead of time, you can make any necessary changes.

4. Positive self commentary is a MUST.

Be kind to yourself. Try to stay conscious of all the negative things you may find yourself saying about yourself. When you catch yourself doing it, acknowledge it and try to find a way to re-frame your view. You’re worth the time. You feelings are always valid. Your body is good the way it is. You are capable even when you don’t feel like it.  I recommend standing in front of a mirror after a shower and really observing yourself. Name off good things about yourself everyday. You’ll be surprised by how much better you’ll begin to feel after you get over the initial weird feelings.

5. Practice

It’s not going to happen overnight and that’s okay. I found my confidence began to increase when I wasn’t only trying to be confident in high pressure situations like interviews and around my crush but when I would eat and sit up a little straighter or keep my head up when I walked instead of staring at the ground. Make changes little by little. You don’t have to go cut all your hair and buy a new wardrobe. By starting off in the shallow end, you can slowly transition this positive thinking into your own natural mindset. Sure, there will be days that you won’t always feel confident but know where to try to get to is the goal. Confidence is a journey, not a destination.

5. Don’t compare your progress

Comparison is the thief of joy. You are where you are and that’s noteworthy because you are noteworthy. Point blank. Where someone else is does not have anything to do with how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror. Working towards being in a good place is the goal. Everyone is different and that’s what makes the world interesting.

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