Every year, admissions officers are bombarded with standardized applications from a variety of applicants, some qualified and some not so qualified. To really make your application look attractive, you have to have a well-rounded, organized and confident presentation.
Here are five ways to make your college application stand out.
1. Write an original, thought-provoking essay.
Make sure your essay is amazing. Start early. Spend plenty of time brainstorming. Organize and reorganiz your ideas until you have come up with the most logical structure to present your argument. Have a clear thesis statement, and develop your points with supporting evidence. Be original, but be honest. You can highlight your achievements without having to over-embellish them. Just answer the topic completely and be confident in your ability to communicate effectively.
2. Include enthusiastic letters of recommendation.
Your letters of recommendation need to be excellent. You have to choose the right people to write them. Approach a teacher you respect, trust and communicate with frequently. Ask this person (or an employee, counselor or other authority figure) to do this favor for you, and if they hesitate at all, find someone else. You need to know that your letters of recommendation will be wholesale endorsements of your scholastic prowess and academic potential. They must be positive and powerful, so find the right people, and give them time to craft their encouraging endorsement.
3. Have a transcript that you can be proud of.
You need to have a transcript that looks spectacular and challenging. Your GPA has to be solid, and you should be sure that you meet the minimum GPA admission requirements. Your transcript has to be packed with challenging classes and college prep courses. If you get straight A's in less than challenging classes, your GPA will look wonderful, but your schedule will have been average at best. You need to really challenge yourself in high school. Take hard courses and perform excellently, and you'll have a transcript that you can be proud of.
4. Achieve high standardized test scores.
Just like your GPA, most colleges have minimum admission requirements when it comes to your standardized test score. Make sure you have performed well on these exams. Take a test preparation course or hire a tutor to maximize your scores. If you feel like you could've done better, then take the tests again.
5. Show that you have accomplishments outside of the classroom.
Your application needs to prove that you're not just a whiz in the classroom. Show off your interests. Tout your involvement in organized sports, music, clubs, community affairs, volunteer work and church activities. Do not just make a laundry list of responsibilities and associations. Show that you are dedicated to these endeavors. Let the admissions officers see that you are capable of being dependable.