The Natural Leader

Greg attends a small private K-12 school in Buffalo. The Short List worked with Greg’s two older sisters and profiled Maddie when she started Harvard in 2011. Greg’s parents contacted The Short List early in Greg’s high school years to help him prepare for the college admissions process.

We recognized Greg’s leadership potential right away. He was a three-sport athlete who knew everyone in his grade, but he was frustrated his class was “made up of cliques and no one would step outside of their comfort zone.” We encouraged him to run for sophomore class vice president to help create the united school community he envisioned. Rather than taking the traditional fall class field trip, Greg requested sophomores stay on campus to participate in activities he designed to help them expand beyond their friend groups. Later in the year, they worked together on walk-a-thons and school fundraising events. He got them to agree to donate the $2,000 raised to the maintenance workers who worked tirelessly to keep the school running during one of Buffalo’s roughest winters.

We helped Greg continue to explore opportunities that would develop his natural abilities in bringing people together. He was elected Spirit Captain his junior year, led pep rallies, organized holiday celebrations, and motivated students to attend sporting events. The school had stopped including the younger classes in these events, but Greg decided to invite them again, going against the student government’s vote initially but winning them over as they began to see the entire school come together. Senior year, the student government designated Greg its “Member at Large,” the officer who most represents the students’ opinions. Greg organized weekly lunches with different groups of students to hear their concerns and ideas. He suggested revisions to the school charter to increase the student voice, recommended lockers be organized by class to create unity, and proposed student advisories change every year to help minimize the influence of cliques.

Greg wanted to find a college that would similarly encourage his leadership. One of the first schools he visited was Skidmore College, where his sister Caroline is now a sophomore. Despite other schools we recommended, he kept returning to Skidmore in our conversations.

We helped him put together an Early Decision application that highlighted his many contributions, and his effort was rewarded with an acceptance letter six weeks later. We have no doubt Greg will flourish as a leader at Skidmore, particularly when the school’s tagline is “Creative Thought Matters.”

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