Applying to college can be unnerving. Demands on high school students grow every year, admissions counselors look for excellence and personality in prospective students, and applicants just have a few sheets of paper-applications, resumes and maybe an essay-to put their best foot forward in the application process.
You might think that resumes are just for job applications and internships, but they can also play a key role in the college admissions process, highlighting your experience in a way that an admissions form can’t.
So how can you make your application stand out? Here are a few surefire tips to ramp up your application and impress admissions counselors.
1. Be Choosy
Do your research before you decide which schools will receive your applications. Find out what potential colleges specialize in and how you can get involved. Don’t apply unless a school fits your lifestyle and goals.
When you submit your applications and/or essays to admissions, mention what you like about that school and the ways you believe it will be a perfect fit for you. If you’re struggling to come up with good reasons to go, that school might not be the best match for you. Once you’ve figured out where you want to go and why, having those reasons clearly defined will shine through in your application.
2. Let Your Personality Shine
When a university like Princeton receives tens of thousands of applications from students who all made perfect grades through high school, they have to narrow their choices somehow. As a matter of fact, admissions counselors say that perfect grades don’t guarantee you a spot… anywhere. Admissions offices are looking for more than that.
This is where your extracurriculars, life experience and even personality come into play. Admissions counselors say they want to get a peek at the person, beyond just a stack of impressive papers. Keep it professional during the application process, but don’t be afraid to be yourself.
3. Go On a Trip
One of the best ways to add weight to your resume is to participate in an exchange program or in an overseas pre college summer program. Universities know that well-traveled students have a more developed outlook on life, and tend to be more culturally savvy than students who haven’t ever stepped outside their comfort zones.
Participating in a high school volunteer abroad program is one way to get this type of experience; GLA offers a wide variety of programs that can give you language practice, environment and ecology experience and a look into the rich traditions of cultures on the other side of the world.
4. Submit Your Application Early
Just because you have until the last few hours of a deadline doesn’t mean you should take them! Getting your application in early gives admissions counselors time to thoroughly review your information, and it shows that you’re on top of your game. Some universities have early-admittance policies that favor students who turn in their applications ahead of time.
5. Be Specific
According to an interview with Fox Business, one of the best ways you can make your application and essays stand out is to give clear, specific details for your experience. Don’t just say “Worked at Safeway stocking shelves.” Tell admissions counselors about projects you’ve completed through teamwork and challenges you’ve worked through.
Make it clear how your volunteer and work experience and any awards you’ve earned have affected your educational goals.