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3 Ways to Stand Out on your College Application

What are the most important things you should think about when writing your college applications?


It may be a little intimidating to hear, but some schools these days are spending as few as 8 minutes on each application. That’s 8 minutes to convey all the hard work and energy you’ve put into the last NEARLY 4 YEARS of your life. So here are 3 tips that I give my students to help them stand out:


– The most important thing is to BE YOU, be AUTHENTIC. The surest way to write cliché essays and have a “cookie cutter” application that doesn’t stand out is to write what you THINK they want to hear. Focus on the events and experiences in your life that shaped your values and shaped your vision for your future. And please, spend the necessary time to dig deep and come up with unique essays and short answers.


– Don’t worry about listing every activity you’ve ever done. In fact, ONLY activities you did in high school should be on your application. Focus on depth over breadth. Make sure your activity resume highlights the most important things you’ve accomplished and the impact you’ve made in your school and your community. Lead with your strongest activities, don’t let them get buried farther down on the page.


– If you need to explain extenuating circumstances in your life, DO. Some students are afraid that talking about an illness or a family tragedy will convey weakness. Without that information, colleges can’t compare the apples to the oranges, and adversity often makes us stronger and teaches us important life lessons. On many applications, there is an “additional information” section intended exactly for this purpose.


So with that, the three quick ways you can stand out on your application: 


Be brave. Be original and start early!


You got this! 

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