How to Make Your College Application Stand Out

Having looked at thousands of student essays over the past ten years, I have been able to decipher exactly what makes an application truly stand out from others. While these ideas may appear to be obvious, you will be amazed how many students regularly forget these steps due to them overthinking their application pieces.


Be true to yourself and shine

This particular piece of advice is seen by students over and over again, and this is because it is crucial. The admission officer that is reading your application wants to know why they should choose you over the pile of applications they have in front of them. For them to do this, you need to get across what makes you tick and details of your hobbies and interests. Your essay should be unique and attention grabbing from the outset, most importantly though it should feel like a true insight into you as a person. It is important to be creative but only if this fits your character and personality, don’t try it just to be clever as it will end up backfiring on you.

One of the most difficult thing for any student writing this piece is praising themselves. It can be hideous to sing your praises; however, your essay should be filled with praise. The majority of students have a natural sense of thinking, “It wasn’t such a big deal,” however, they matter, and as so should be included on your application, you will not be construed as a big head. This essay is the place to make your accomplishments shine. If you think about it logically, there are hordes of shameless students who are going to tout their achievements; these students are your competition, and if you are not willing to do the same, there is no doubt that you will be the one that misses out. The best way to be sure that you forget nothing is to ask your family and friends about your good deeds, then be sure to include any you may have missed.

Most importantly do not apologize, you are not highlighting anything negative therefore apologizes are not needed. If you had a blip where your grades dropped before going back up, this is not the place for an explanation. Remember your peers will all be focusing on only their positives. Therefore you need to do the same but do it better.


Show your passion and desire

The most obvious omission that the majority of student’s miss is demonstrating the desire to go to the education establishment to which they are applying. It is vital that you have done the due diligence on the school so that you can demonstrate why you are applying to this particular place. Make mention to a professor already at the school that you find an inspiration and a program that you would have particularly like to have been part of and use the actual words, “this is my first choice of university” or something along this vein.

While there are some reasons why this is important possible the most important is what is called the “yield ratio.” The yield ratio is the number of students that are offered a place and accept the offer at a specific school. This is a module that colleges love to use as a comparison with one another and will also prove that you are not just using an essay template and this is coming from your heart.

It is important for your essay to have some narrative or it will be perceived as boring, you may have excellent grades, superb test scores and be a member in activities other than academics but if your application is boring this will all fall on deaf ears. It is vital that your application goes beyond as the adjudicator wants to find out more about you, what drives you, what you are passionate about and so on. If your grades are excellent, describe what drove you to study so hard and delve beyond just the facts and figures.

Try to show your emotional side rather than telling it, for example, a specific story where you have helped a homeless person to their seat in a soup kitchen has far more clout than if you were to say; I found great pleasure from helping at a soup kitchen.

What about tomorrow?

One thing that nearly all students fail to include in their applications is addressing their dreams and hopes for the future. The school you are applying to is interested in how you see yourself spending your time and where you eventually want to end up. You may not know this information, bt it is crucial to pick a good topic for this essay. This way you show that you are focused, which will be a huge positive mark in your favor.

By actively applying these pointers your essay will certainly shine amongst the other contenders, keep in mind that it is not only the program choosing you but that you are also choosing the program. Be true to yourself and honest about your achievements and you will be best placed to match yourself with the ideal school.