Always Wonder Why

Colleges want people who have intellectual curiosity. 

More and more, colleges are assessing hopeful candidates on their level of intellectual curiosity. Some colleges have even developed a methodology that scores applicants’ answers relative to this characteristic.

Intellectual curiosity means that an individual is internally drive to seek information for its own sake … not because a teacher will give her a failing grade or a boss will fire him if he doesn’t learn something about a new product. Essentially, intellectual curiosity drives an individual to learn unique for its own sake and not for any direct purpose.

Colleges will do their best to find out if an applicant has intellectual curiosity, and will question students to ferret out that information. Applicants will need to be prepared with truthful answers and ready to describe how that ‘characteristic’ plays out in real life.

An outstanding applicant response to questions about his/her intellectual curiosity could be:

“Yes, I plan to be a science major, but I have a deep interest in the 1940’s and Hitler’s rise to power. My great-grandfather served in World War II and fought in North Africa and Italy. He never made it to Germany, but I actually have a few of the medals he earned during his time in the Army. I have read at least a dozen books on that war. My particular favorite is the trilogy by Rick Atkinson that starts with ‘The Army at Dawn.’ I recently went on and was able to trace his unit’s path through Africa and Europe. Someday I plan to follow that route to see where he spent five years of his life. What a sacrifice that generation made. By the way, I included the map of his route as an attachment to the essay I submitted with my application to this college.”

When college admissions officers realize that an applicant’s curiosity is genuine, his or her application can shoot to the top of the admissions pile. Be ready for the competition. Start reading.