In light of this question, I’ve spent some time gathering input from admissions directors, in addition to using my own experience reviewing applications, to provide an answer.
The short answer: No.
Getting into college or putting “Founder” on your resume shouldn’t be a factor in deciding whether or not to start a company.
But what DO admissions committees care about?
And what ARE the reasons to start (or continue) a company?
(And do these two overlap? Spoiler alert: they do!)
What Admissions Committees Care About…
He advises that the keys to college admissions come down to intellectual curiosity, interpersonal skills, and passion.
Read more in his blog post here.
Reasons to Start a Company…
The top reasons to start a company come down to one key thing – PASSION. It could be a passion for innovating and building cool things, passion for helping people, or passion for solving large scale problems. Whatever the underlying drive or passion, it needs to fuel you through the inevitable ups and downs of any startup.
Matt McGann, Director of MIT Admissions, says “At MIT, people care about who you are, what you can do, what kind of stuff gets you excited.”
“People make a big deal about test scores. No one seems to believe me when I tell them that when I’m reading an application, I just glance at the test scores to get a sense of them before moving on to the more important parts of the application — that is, who you are.” (Read more from Matt here.)