4 Ways to Make Your College Application Stand Out

on August 12, 2016

Everyone says how important it is that a college application stand out, but how do you do that? If you look at creating college applications as you would an ice cream sundae, these details would be your toppings. These tips will help your college application stand out, no matter where you apply.


1. Be Nice

Thanks to Harvard’s Turning the Tide Report, more schools are trying to make college admissions more balanced with a new focus on the character of the student rather than just grades and scores, because at the end of the day, you’re so much more than that. Whether it be the activities you participate in or the tone in which you write your essay, you have a chance to show admissions you’re responsible and caring. With a focus on others and your community, you can really stand out.


2. Research

College is going to be your home and family for the next four years of your life. Similar to finding the perfect roommate, you’ll want to take some time to get to know them before you decide that you guys are a good fit for each other. Colleges feel the same way. In addition, after researching a school, you’re able to include specific details (such as classes you want to take or professors that interest you) in your supplemental college essays and in other communication with the school. These little details will make your application pop!


3. Build Relationships

Relationships make the world go round and are reflected in your application through your letters of recommendation. While you won’t be able to see your letter of recommendation before it is sent, you can help your guidance counselor and teachers write a strong and descriptive letter of recommendation. Take time to build these relationships in advance through meeting with them monthly throughout the school year and even more, when you’re struggling in their class. Help make their job of writing a recommendation easier by providing a detailed resume and/or brag sheet. They often have many recommendations to write and it can be difficult for them to write one that stands out, if they don’t know you, so take the time to build that relationship.


4. Apply Early

Believe it or not, but for some schools applying close to the deadline may reduce your chances of being accepted. This is especially important for students who are interested in receiving financial aid. If you think about it, there are fewer spots available as a school’s deadline draws near. Therefore, it's best to apply as early as you can and at least two weeks before the deadline to be safe and improve your chances of getting in. Applications open as early as August 1st, so you have time to work on them even before you go back to school. Don’t rush though – you still want to submit your best work.

Finally, remember that applying to college is about figuring out who you are and what you want to do and sharing that with colleges. Wishing you an enjoyable college admissions journey!

Anna Ren is on a mission to make applying for college as transparent and stress-free as possible for families everywhere. Anna is the Founder of Elite Advantage Prep and the affordable online college planning course, Prep for SuccessSign up to receive instant access to her free college planning mini-course “Prep for Success: College Planning for Teens. 

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