6 Things Which Can Make Your College Application Stand Out

Jul 24, 2021

Admission officers look for students who are studious, intelligent, passionate, and ambitious. Colleges want students who show genuine interest in their institution and are open to new opportunities, and are willing to accept new challenges. 

A college application's primary point is to show the officer how the candidate is different from other college aspirants and how the applicant stands out positively, memorable, and uniquely.

What looks good on an application varies depending on the College.

In general, a well-rounded college application will include:

  • Excellent and consistent grades.
  • An honest personal statement/essay.
  • A unique extracurricular activity.
  • Community service.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Work experience.

Excellent Grades ( High school GPA, SAT/ACT scores)

The first thing that colleges look for is your grades. Typically, an average grade in a tough AP class has more importance than an A in an easy class. A good SAT/ACT score also sets you apart from the rest.

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While it is essential to have good grades, it is not the only thing that determines your admission. Grades and scores are needed to get you on the competitive playing fields, but what sets you apart from the others once you are on the field once you are on the field? 

Sometimes, in a large pool of highly well-qualified candidates, colleges are most interested in finding students who have researched their institution sufficiently to understand the synergy between their grades and the university.

Personal Statement/Essays

A personal statement tells colleges about the applicant. The personal statement connects the dots in the application. Connecting the dots is the second most crucial step because it creates a picture of who you are and what you have to offer. 

Colleges look for 3 things in your essay – honesty, specificity, and eloquence.

Colleges want to know more about the applicant, they want to learn about the applicant beyond their grades and extracurricular activities, and essays help them. 

The best way to get a clear picture of the student's goals, achievements, and character is to hear it directly from the student. The most efficient way to write an essay/personal statement is to write unique information that College cannot find anywhere else on the application.

Various colleges ask different questions that serve the purpose of an essay. It would be best to answer these specific questions in a specific, clear, and concise manner. 

At the end of the day, colleges want you to take the opportunity to learn about and build relationships with the institution seriously. In conclusion, in your essay, colleges are looking for candidates to go beyond demonstrated interest, by your words and deeds, that you belong.

To write an effective essay, see our blog 5 Insider College Essay Hacks to Stand Out From the Crowd.

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurriculars are one of the most important factors that colleges look at seriously besides your grades. Almost all colleges want to know what extracurricular activities you do in your spare time.

Colleges do not want to know all the activities you have participated in or have shown mild interest in. They want to know 8-10 activities you are passionate about and any significant achievements in them.

Extracurriculars do not necessarily have to be sports. For example, if you are a Biology major, extracurriculars can also mean being a part of your school's biology club, which can bolster your application. 

If you don't have something that makes you stand out, then take some time and figure out what interests you and what could augment your application.

Community Service

Colleges are prominent in communities and giving back to your community. When they look at your application, they want to see how you have impacted and contributed to your community. 

Volunteering and community service is one way they gauge this.

Colleges want to see if the applicant has brought about a considerable change in their community by community service, which means that the applicants should positively impact through their volunteering efforts. 

Fundraisers, teaching underprivileged kids, hosting events, etc., are the most common community service types.

Letters Of Recommendation

Most colleges require letters of recommendation from your high school counselor or a teacher, sometimes both. A preferred recommendation would be from a teacher who knows your capabilities, in and out of the classroom. 

Typically, colleges require a recommendation from a teacher who has taught a core class (Math, English, science, etc.). 

It is also best to get recommendations in classes that you have fared well in. Also, receiving a recommendation from a class, you might major in is the best boost your application can get.

Work Experience

Work experience is not as important as the other factors, but it will make your application stand out positively. You don't need to work part-time in high school, but the qualities that work experience highlights are your sense of responsibility, maturity, and willingness to work for your goals. 

One of the things that colleges might look for will be your reasons for taking the job and what values it taught you. It would help colleges understand what you have to offer.

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Free College Essay Guide

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