When you’re crafting your college application, you’re essentially giving a self-report of your performances during high school. You want to portray yourself in a way that impresses colleges and makes you seem like a good candidate. So, what are the major things that looks good in your college application?
This is the most obvious one. Your transcript is one of the first things that colleges will evaluate on your application, and for some of the more competitive universities, it may be a deal-breaker. The top colleges expect their students to have straight A’s, or at least pretty close. If you don’t have perfect grades, colleges expect you to at least show an upward grade trend.
Colleges don’t necessarily care what extracurriculars you participate in. They would rather see you do what you love than see that you participated in all the extracurriculars that you think colleges will like.
However, what colleges DO want to see is that you took initiative in your activities. They want to see that you made an impact on the organization, whether it was planning an event, following through with a big project, or even doing some internal restructuring of the club or organization.
f you show colleges that you have already held down a job, regardless of what it is, you are showing colleges that you already have some of the necessary skills that will help you thrive in the real world. Some of these skills include time management, organization, responsibility, and dependability.
It is in a college’s best interest to take students who show that they can handle real-life duties. After all, once students graduate from college and enter the workforce, they are a direct representation of the university’s efforts and educational quality.
Volunteering in itself is not incredibly impressive because it usually only involves participation. The exception, of course, is if you hold a leadership role or have started your own non-profit.
Still, colleges like to see people who were engaged in their community in some way. Volunteering is still helpful in applications because many colleges use your choice of volunteer work as an indicator of your interests and passions. Being able to juggle volunteer work with everything else you have going on as a high school student also shows colleges that you have good time management skills.
Essays that shows authenticity
Of course, your college essays need to be written with precise language, strong grammar and be overall of college student caliber. Colleges use your essays to make sure that your writing is on par with the expectations of the university. More than that, however, colleges read your essays to find out as much as they can about you, your interests, and your personality.
So even though you may be tempted to write your college essays in a very professional and erudite manner, you should really write your essays in your own voice. You also want to make sure that the content of your essays touch upon the core things that make you unique and not just the things that colleges want to hear. After reading your essays, the college should have a decent idea of who you are both as a student and as a person.