How can you make colleges see you as a person and not just a act and sat test score?
I'm a sophomore in high school and I am also in my schools IB program. I want to make a difference in this world through college but its hard when all they see are test scores and not the student.
What an interesting question! There is a way, of course, to let the admission committee see you as the eager and enthusiastic person you are: make yourself stand out from all other applicants; you are the one applying to be included, then it is your job to show them why they should accept you.
Thousands of students apply for their favorite college or university each year, and most have worked so hard to get one step closer to their dream. Naturally, there is high competition and specific demands; colleges and universities have a certain number of students that admit each year, and therefore there are required qualifications that must be met by students to be considered eligible.
The purpose is not to eliminate the student behind the score; on the contrary, it is a chance to let them shine through their achievements. They want to know how serious a student is about gaining what they genuinely wish to and if they are hard-working, have an idea and a purpose, are willing to experiment, and are eager to step out of their comfort zone and push themselves further. The application is a bundle of written documents, so they do not know the student personally. Their tool of evaluation then is those documents. To be seen and heard, you should work on those documents and what they represent.
Here are some tips on how to make yourself a noticeable applicant while you work on increasing your test results and scores:
Choosing your extra activities smartly shows you're committed to your passions, both in and outside school. It is not about the number of different activities that has nothing to do with other; it is about the quality of improvement and learning more about your desired subjects. Not that it will work against you; I'm just saying try to be purposeful even if you are taking different courses outside of school; If you volunteer, take IB, do an internship, etc., do it in a way that helps you figure out your passion or choose those that are related to your desired careers.
This is the most critical component of your application and where you can show who you are. Think about what you want to say, make a draft, work on it, ask others' opinions, grab the reader's attention, and make the impact you want. Pay attention to grammar, form, and writing; you don't want to hurt your chance with an obvious avoidable mistake. You also want to make sure you craft well-thought-out responses. That will make you unique and stand out—which is the whole point. For example, if a scenario or experience impacted you, mention how you overcame that challenge.
Recommendations should be from a teacher in a class where you either did well or overcame a struggle. It's not necessarily the one you liked the most but a class where you improved the most, such as by helping another student or facing and conquering a challenge. You can also send a guidance counselor recommendation as well. The former will contextualize your high school journey, while the latter can attest to specific experiences.
As far as I know, interviews are becoming less common, but if you do receive an invitation for an interview, you should take it very seriously. They're mainly a way for colleges to understand better who you are.
When I graduated, I made the mistake of applying to universities I knew little about. I didn't take my time to study their websites or newsletter or the vision they had. And most importantly, I didn't go after my passion. Therefore, years later, I had to start over again and change my path.
So I recommend you take your time and get familiar with what that college or university stands for; if you find similarities and see yourself there with them and if you know that's the community you want to be part of, you can let them see that too, through your essay.
Here is a fascinating article from Harvard University about how to write an essay for a college application that is very interesting. I have added it here; read it a few times if you can. It is very insightful. And also two other articles about Tips for Raising Your College Admission Chances:
I hope it was helpful. I wish you an incredible journey in achieving your dream.
Best wishes!! The fact that you have such a thoughtful question, I'm sure you'll do great in life.
Make contact with existing students - build a network - ask them to get you introductions with recruiters.
Send them correspondence on you, share your dreams, share essays, share experiences.
Start early - do not leave to the last minute. Start 2-3 years before - you want them to recognize you, want them to tell you what you need to do to get in.
Recruiters want you to be successful - if they see a good candidate they will advocate.
I believe the most effective approach could be via your college essay. SAT/ACT scores are just numbers. They indicate your performance on a test, but they don't genuinely convey who you are. Your college essay, on the other hand, provides a golden opportunity for you to share your unique story and express something that genuinely ignites your passion. This is your chance to shine and show the admissions committee the real person behind the numbers.