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What can I do to make my future college application look good ?

Hi! My name is Valeria and am in about to be a sophomore in high school. I was curious about things I could do to impress colleges and make them want to pick me as a student. Next year I am planning on joining my schools HOSA club. My interests after high school is something in the pediatric field and wanted to know if there was anything in specific that could make me stand out. Thank you!!

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Doc’s Answer

Valeria while all colleges are different, of course, with some valuing certain qualities or skills more or less than other schools, all colleges generally look for smart, studious, ambitious, and passionate students. Therefore, your college application should emphasize your best, most impressive qualities. Make sure to explain (especially if you need to write a "Why This College" essay) exactly how you became interested in the school and why you think it's a good fit for you and your goals. In addition to key personality traits, such as ambition, passion, genuine interest, and academic curiosity, below are the additional top things that really look good on a college application.

GPA
Academic rigor can be pivotal. Admissions officers don’t just look at the grades you earned and the classes in which you earned them. That means that an A in a grade-level class isn’t necessarily better than a B in an Advanced Placement (AP), honors, or International Baccalaureate (IB) class. So consider adding more academically demanding classes to your course load to show that you are a motivated, intellectually curious student.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Colleges pay attention to your involvement in extracurricular activities. But what counts most to colleges is how long and how deeply you have been committed to one or two of those interests. This could be sports, clubs, music groups, or various other activities. They take into account the leadership roles you have held, what you accomplished, and how much time you committed to the activity.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Letters of recommendation are almost always required for college applications and can be valuable to communicate your unique qualities, skills, and personality. Usually, high school teachers write recommendation letters. They can speak to your academic performance and your problem-solving, creativity, commitment, and leadership skills. It is best to ask a teacher with whom you have had more than one class or in whose class you excelled.

SUMMER ACTIVITIES
Your summer experiences provide insight into your character also. Holding a summer job at a fast-food restaurant can build as much character as attending a prestigious summer learning program. Even staying at home to help out with babysitting or household chores like cooking for the family shows character. It's all about what you've gained, what you've learned and how you communicate that in your application.

If you’re looking for more advice about how best to position yourself for college, learn more about the admissions criteria that colleges consider.

Best of luck Valeria in your exciting college journey.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Valeria
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Monica’s Answer

Great question. I'm glad you are thinking of college applications now. Colleges look for dynamic, diverse, engaging students. A few universal factors go into this decision: good grades, volunteer work, defined career interests, clear life goals, and extra-curricular activities. Sounds like a lot, right? Yes, it is. How much effort you will need to put in depends on the college. Instead of being perfect in every aspect, try to find your 'personal brand' are you a national champion in a specific sport? Is there a career pathway at a certain college that you had a personal connection to and/or desire to work in? Colleges want to see you are interested in them SPECIFICALLY and how your personal brand ties into them. Why do you want them and why do they want you? That's the million dollar question that must match for the admissions team. For example, if you want to go to Georgetown University, why? Well, they are in Washington D.C. and if you have a love for politics, demonstrated interest in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University program, AND you have the above mentioned qualities of grades, extra-curricular, and involvement then I'd say you have a strong application opportunity. There are never any guarantees and the acceptance rates are largely out of your control, but these are just a few ways to help you on your application journey. Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice! Valeria
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david’s Answer

Hi, Valeria,
This is a good time to pose the question. What colleges seek are diverse and interesting students. You can display that by having excellent grades, and also by having involvement in extra-curricular activities, and by doing self-initiated volunteer work. Virtually everything in which you're involved can help, including sports, band, drama club, etc. All the best to you.
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