What are the best ways to stand out in the college admissions process?
I have good grades and extracurriculars but is there something else I could do to really boost my application?
The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay about something that has meaning for you. Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through. Admission essays give them a better opportunity to know who you are, what your interests and capabilities are. Therefore, your essay should create a feeling that an admission officer knows you at a personal level. Don’t make the mistakes of writing too much informative essay and ignoring to give it a personal touch. Your admission will be neglected in favor of the next best candidate. The admission officer has an interest to know the contributions you will make to the school community. Well, if your admission essays mirrors you as an active student, with the capability to contribute positively to the school community, you will get an admission. However, it does not mean that you must have some very unique qualities or talents. Identify some verifiable and genuine talents you have, and how the school community is going to benefit from them.
Good Luck Rasya
John recommends the following next steps:
In addition to all the great tips posted prior, I have also heard from some of my friends and mentors that sometimes going on a college tour (as Sunny mentioned) or showing that you are interested and passionate about the university/college helps with your application. An example of this , and if you are comfortable with it, could be to opt in for a college interview (different guidelines on this for different colleges). Another way you can show interest is to connect with the college representatives during college fairs and ask them questions that you think would be helpful for you to make a decision. When you write your college/personal essay, I do recommend researching on what the college prioritizes for their values, the types of students and activities (ex. integrity, students who give back to their community). Also, if you already have a career path in mind, double check if that college has the major or classes you want to take. However, make sure that your essay is authentic and shows a part of you (like John said). Through researching about the school's values and activities, you can also check to see if that school is a good fit for you and whether you have personal stories that can show how you carry the school's values.
Lily recommends the following next steps:
I think the above responses contain great advice that I don't need to repeat here. I just wanted to add a note to emphasize authenticity in your application. Don't try to alter to your image in a way you think the colleges will want because they can tell when someone is being fake. Really stay true to yourself and let your passions/skills come through. A good academic record speaks for itself (congratulations on that, by the way!). So definitely make sure the essay and other application questions showcase the human side of you. The more college admissions can connect with you as a person, the more likely they will want to see you attending their school. Also, Sunny's answer was spot on: one of the best ways to embody passion is to show how what you are doing now connects with what you want to be doing in the future (This is true even if the subject matter seems unrelated. If you are simply developing skills that will help you, that works too!)
So, avoid generic stories that focus on surface level events and really try to demonstrate who you are and why you would add value and diversity to their school.
Chloe recommends the following next steps:
I agree that your essay will be very important to stand out in the admission process. To add to that, it might be also helpful to make connections between your extracurriculars and the school/major that you apply for. For example, if you write the things that you learned from your activities (leadership, teamwork, analytical skills, patience, understanding others, etc.), then you can also add how these characteristics can contribute to the school so that it can show why you are the best candidate. I also think it is good to take a school tour to learn about the school's history and find more resources to add to your essay.
Some of my best advice would be to do your research. Learn what values each college/university embody's and promotes. Illustrate what about your experiences and background fit in with the image of the school. As important as authenticity is, schools also want to admit students that will promote the image they want.