Shining Bright: How to Stand Out on Your College Application

Image by Aaron Burden,

Image by Aaron Burden,

Applying to college is many things—emotional, stressful, time-consuming—but it is definitely not easy. Your college application isn’t just an application, but a reflection of your work ethic, dreams, and ambitions. The pressure of summarizing your entire existence in a 1000 word paper is a lot to deal with, especially when the return (of accepted applicants) is so low. Each college requires something different in their application process, making the entire process quite lengthy. Instead of wasting that time and energy only to receive a refusal, invest it wisely and make an effort to stand out on your college application.

Know What Each College Is Looking For

College recruiters, be it for undergraduate or graduate programs, want students that will embody the spirit of the university. They want participants that will succeed in their particular academic environment. Show that you have done your research on the program you have applied to and cater to their individualized mission statements. Make it known that you are a good fit for the school and the program. If it is possible, mention faculty that you would be excited to work with.

Write (and Speak) from the Heart

Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, showing a genuine and honest interest is much more valuable than fabricating or embellishing information to sound interesting. Instead, write and speak in detail about the truth. Show that you notice small things. Liven-up your written work by elaborating on the exact feeling you had when you completed your first art exhibition or the squeak of your shoes as you walked up to the podium for an amazing speech you gave. The things you notice and mention in your writing have a lot of personality. If you are doing an interview, the same concept of authenticity applies.

Indicate Genuine Interest

While researching the college beforehand and writing honestly aid this endeavor, backing up your claims of interest with evidence is a sure way to stand out from the rest. Applying for one of the best health law schools? Include your award from the Pre-Law Society and mention the number of hours you’ve spent volunteering at the local hospital. Make sure your extracurricular activities are relevant and can help you demonstrate your passion for the field.

Showing that you are a real person with true interest in the university and field is a great way to stand out in your application. Show the office of admissions that you are hard-working, capable, and worthy of the program. Beyond that, you want to show them that you will learn from their program and use it to be a true asset to society.

This article was contributed by guest author Marlena Stoddard.