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Leadership Fast Track: Getting Leadership Opportunities the Easy Way

Every top school in the US is looking to admit the next leaders of the world. Harvard values maturity, character, leadership, self-confidence, warmth of personality, sense of hsweaterumor, energy, concern for others, and grace under pressure” in their applicants. Yale also wants leaders. “Decade after decade, Yalies have set out to make our world better. We are looking for students we can help to become the leaders of their generation in whatever they wish to pursue.” Princeton’s dean of admissions reiterates this desire for a class of leaders. “We look for qualities that will help them become leaders in their fields and in their communities.”


Now that I’ve convinced you being a leader is a prerequisite for admittance to the Ivies, let’s talk about what being a “leader” means in this context. How can you demonstrate that you’re a leader? Some of these tips are easier to achieve than others, but the important part is to start early and have your goal in mind.


Run for Class and Club Offices


Who’s the leader of your high school class? The student body president. If that isn’t achievable, shoot for National Honors Society president. You can also run for club offices. Don’t go overboard. Shoot for at least two president positions your junior or senior year. The way to go about this is to run for offices starting your sophomore year.


If you have trouble getting elected to a leadership position in your class or club, start your own club. This is the easiest way to become a leader of a club. Just make sure the club contributes significantly to the student body and the community.


While president, make substantial changes. Add members, fundraise, run events, create boards, whatever you can do to demonstrate you are taking the initiative and making a difference.


Varsity Sports or Major Musical Position


Sports and music demonstrate strong commitment and ability to excel at non-academic endeavors. The best way to demonstrate leadership in sports or music is to participate all four years and gain achievements, like variety letters, starting positions, and awards. Many times you can get a varsity letter by playing in only one varsity game. This might be easier in a more obscure sport.


Try to become team captain. You don’t have to be the best person on the team to do that. You just need to demonstrate your commitment to the team and your teammates. Talk to your coach about how you can do this and if there’s anything else you can do for the team.




Harvard wants to see you commit. Don’t jump from club to club every year. Shoot for 3-4 years of commitment for your clubs, sports, and other activities. That doesn’t always work out, but it is the ideal. It’s also your best shot at becoming president or team captain.


Action Steps

1. Email me at jyeager@post.harvard.edu or comment on what you’re going to do today to start working towards those leadership positions.



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