How can students stand out on their application?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

How can students stand out on their application?

Janet Rapelye

How can students stand out on their application?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Standing Out on the Application . . .

. . . is easy! The goal is to show the college that you are a great student who has a few interests about which you are passionate. In addition, you must make sure the school knows how much you know about it and why it'd be your favorite place to wind up as an undergraduate. That sounds like a great deal, but map it out first. Next, make sure you convey these items in the appropriate areas of your question. For example, for the 1000 character essay about one of your activities, pick something very special which is different from your Personal Essay. On the supplements make sure you do an impeccably proofed, carefully worded response to why X school is the school for you and what you will bring to the community. Reference courses, buildlings and even professors to make your case. Regarding other items, make sure your Personal Essay is unique and completely proofed in every way. You don't want to stand out because of a mistake! Make sure the essay is totally about you and is light and upbeat.

William Chichester

How can students stand out on their application?

Visit the school! Talk about the clubs you would participate in if you were admitted. Talk about the classes you would take if you were admitted. Determine what your major would be and find out who runs the department. Learn about the professors in that department and what they specialize in. Does someone interest you where you would want to assist them with research? Talk about these things in your essay. Research the school. Talk with alumni. Research the alumni chapter in your local town and set up an informational overview where you speak with them for 15-30 mins by phone.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

The details do count here!

Since the Common Application, as well as other online applications, do homogenize the output, you need to ensure that your applications do have the kind of impact that is needed for success. Don't assume that the colleges know what acronyms such as SADD. MADD etc would stand for. Spell it all out for them. And don't assume that they will know that you founded that club and ran a food-drive that raised money for starving orphans! Give them all the key details, that fit, on your applications. Your application is NOT the place to be humble- if you received an important award of honor- make sure that you list it ( with an explanation if necessary). Choose the topics carefully for your essays, because this a critical component of your application. The essay should not be a laundry list of accomplishments, but the chance for your personal qualities to shine through.

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

The essay

The essay is one way students can stand out. Students should make sure that the essay lets the admissions officer learn something important about you that does not appear elsewhere on the application and demonstrates how well you write.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

How can students stand out on their application?

Students can stand out in the application process by standing out in real life. If you challenge yourself academically, choose your activities thoughtfully, and pursue your passions authentically -- you will stand out. Don't be lemming and don't follow others' leads blindly. Just because "everyone" joins Model UN because it "looks good" on your application or "everyone" says you have to be "well-rounded" -- doesn't mean it's true. Think about the choices you make and don't be afraid to choose the path that speaks to your heart. If you follow the path that "everyone" else is taking -- it will be very difficult for you to show your humanity and individuality during college admissions time. So -- do you have to do well academically? Yes. Do you have to challenge yourself? Yes. Do you have to engage yourself outside of the classroom? Yes. But if you can do those things thoughtfully, deliberately, and with courage and verve -- you can stand out and show that you are more than the sum of your test scores and GPA.

Mary Mariani

How can students stand out on their application?

Good grades and test scores, a rigorous academic program, and a full compliment of academic classes during all four years are all necessary to be accepted into a good school. A list of a thousand activities will not be helpful. But if you have excelled in some activities, been an officer, or made an important contribution to the school or an organization, that would be worth noting. Also if you have done something for your community (school or neighborhood or town/city) that has had a positive impact and shows your commitment to your community, that would also be worth noting. Colleges don't like a list of a thousand things that you have done. They want to see that you have really put in an effort to be helpful and contributing - not just a member - of both you school and community.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

How can students stand out on their application?

Having 1,000 or more community service hrs in combination w/a high GPA. Fluency in 3 languages is always a plus as well. SAT/ACT scores from 9th or 10 grade can also be impressive in addition to dual enrollment. These are just a few.

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

How can students stand out on their application?

Applications that stand out are well written, cohesive and interesting to read.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

How can students stand out on their application?

The best way to make your application stand out is to make your essay memorable. Admissions officers read a LOT of applications and they can all blur together. If you can make them laugh, nod in agreement, relate to what you are saying; chances are that you will be remembered during the final cut and that is a good thing. The essay is your chance to put a face on your admission application. Schools are looking for values, experiences you will continue on campus, something about you that isn't mentioned anywhere else in the application; make it fun to read.