“Grades and Scores get you into the ‘good’ pile, but Character helps you stand out from the good pile.”
In our three big paradigms to shape a fulfilling academic career—Grades, Scores, and Character—we often say that grades and test scores get you into the ‘good' pile. But it is your Character that helps you stand out from the good pile.
We think about Character by way of an analogy: Imagine that every college, or every graduate school, or every company where graduates want to work is a dinner table. Some of these dinner tables will change our lives. If the table that I’ve set my sights on has only one remaining seat, what makes me the most interesting person to deserve that spot? What will I contribute to that dinner table conversation?
To deserve that last seat, one must exhibit original character experiences.
Our Founder Hafeez Lakhani famously tells the story of once having breakfast with the director of admissions at Brown, who joked with regard to service opportunities: “I don’t think there’s a hole left to dig in Costa Rica.” Service trips are valuable; but at Lakhani Coaching we insist that every pursuit, be it service, an interest in engineering, or a long term art practice, is absolutely earnest, and the action taken toward that pursuit—the experiences one collects—is wholeheartedly original. As we help students shape their long term character stories, and set their sights on the last seat at a very specific table, these experiences are our focus.
High School Character Coaching
Our ongoing Character Coaching consists of a Goal Setting Meeting at the start of each semester, during which the entire team (student, parents, coach) arrives at a set of character goals—types of experiences we hope to cultivate—for the coming semester and following summer.
The coach then leads a thorough search for original pursuits—after school programs, lab work, mentorships, creative pursuits, summer programs, camps, and best of all, independent projects—tailored to the student’s unique interests. We’ve found that these long-term pursuits often generate perfect responses to our “She’s the one who…” litmus test for Admissions.
High School Character Coaching can begin at any time, but is most effective when started during freshman or sophomore year of high school.
College Character Coaching
The choices faced during college can be daunting: selecting a major, choosing an early career path, finding the activities that define you, planning for the after-college job market or graduate school. Our coaches help students navigate these and other challenges.
Our College Character Coaching entails a Goal Setting Meeting at the start of each semester during which the student and coach determine which character pursuits would best position the student for A) a fulfilling contribution to her college life and B) opportunities for the future, including graduate school and the job market.
We help our students pursue their passions during academic terms as well as summers, including internships in consulting, finance, public policy, nonprofit, and media, among other great tracks. Our students may pursue lab work ahead of medical school, or independent research domestically or abroad, including applying for funding from campus sources. Our coaches lend a sounding board to these wide ranging application processes and rigorous interview preparation to help students make it through competitive selection.
If a student is interested in journalism, for instance, we might brainstorm roles at the college newspaper or literary magazines, as well as summer opportunities to cultivate that passion, in the pursuit of making the student a top candidate—and top contributor—to full time positions.
For those interested in graduate school, the character story is especially important. We aim to discover what experiences might make each student the best contributor to the “dinner table” conversation at Harvard Medical School, or Columbia Law, or the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, among other great places.
We take pride in learning our students’ specific interests and helping them advance their narratives and their careers.
Job Search / Internship Coaching
For students entering recruitment processes for full time or internship positions, we work closely on resume enhancement, cover letter drafting and forming a robust list of networking channels and positions to apply to. From there we take great pride in preparing students for interviews, focusing equally on content—speaking with confidence about each item on one’s resume—as well as fundamental interview skills such as confidence, posture, body language, length of response, and use of specific examples. We reinforce this skill building with our rigorous mock interview practice.
For students interested in the hyper-competitive Consulting and Finance recruiting processes, we help in our signature style, improving chances for job offers by cultivating earnest demonstrated interest, including internships and summer pursuits, before rigorously working with students to polish their resumes and prepare for interviews. Our experienced coaches are equipped to delve deeply into mock technical interviews in Finance and Case Interviews in Consulting.
Whether it be positions in public policy, non profit, media or biotech—or myriad other tracks—we help students improve their chances at securing jobs they covet.