When applying to college, it’s time to show the real you

Telling colleges your value in an application better than doing a bunch of "stuff."

Hailey Dillard, Columnist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

“What is it that makes you unique, and how will you contribute to the life of our campus?”

That’s what admission officers want to know. Personal qualities are not easy to measure, but admission officers look at the items listed below for clues to an applicant’s character.

What you do outside the classroom reveals a lot about you. That’s why some applications ask for details about extracurricular activities. But remember, it’s not the number of activities that are important. Admission officers want to know what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown from participating in these activities. The kinds of activities you choose say a lot about your personality and even your morals. Whether or not you stick with your chosen undertakings exhibits your ability to commit to important projects in the long term.

A student’s GPA in high school shows colleges how successful they were in the field of academics and whether or not they buckled down and worked hard. Colleges look not only at overall GPA but also at how well a student did in individual classes. If the school has a class rank, that shows how much competition there was within the school

There are ways to increase GPA, like taking honors and AP classes. By taking these classes, students can set themselves apart from the other applicants because it shows that they can take rigorous classes and handle the workload that comes with it.

Not all schools rely as heavily upon on SAT and ACT scores as they used to, but, if college is in the future, it doesn’t hurt to take both tests and do as well as one can. Some schools don’t look at these tests at all while others may look at scores from additional tests including SAT Subject Tests and AP tests. Doing research on the colleges before applying is a smart decision for anyone who wants to go to the next step.

Colleges also want to see essays that go for a personal connection. Rather than using the essay to talk up accomplishments, students should focus on showing who they truly are and what will make them an asset to the college’s community of students.

More colleges are moving away from accepting students who did the most “stuff” to look for those who focus their energy in specific areas that they’re passionate about. Schools want to see what makes a potential applicant special and how hard they are willing to work at the things you care about. Knowing what the colleges are looking for in an applicant will help a prospective student make the best possible choices for college prep and to craft a better application when the time comes.

Contacting your top school choices will also give you a more specific picture of what they all expect, allowing a more focused plan of attack for applications and potentially increase the chances of acceptance.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email