The real key is to differentiate your college applications in order to stand out amongst the crowd. Here are 7 things you can do to show colleges how special you are:

  1. Leadership experience: Don’t just join an organization. Lead one! Whether it’s a sports team, an after school club, or the arts, take the lead. Being a team captain, club president, or lead role shows colleges that you’re not just there to only participate. You’re there to take charge and make a positive impact!
  2. Work & volunteer experience: During the school year, it might be hard to work at a job if you’re doing other extracurricular activities. However, volunteering is an easy and flexible way to demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile and show that you’re passionate about a certain cause. Not to mention that it feels good! Over the summer, try and find a part-time job. Not only will you make some extra money, but you’ll be able to show colleges that you are reliable and capable of working in a professional environment.
  3. Awards, honors, & scholarships: Are you really good at a specific subject or skill? Have you done something unique or notable? Getting recognized for these types of talents is a great way to make yourself stand out. Plus, you might get an extra plaque to hang on your wall at home. Secondly, apply for scholarships! Scholarships are a great way to earn credibility and show that others recognize your actions and believe in your potential. Not to mention they often include monetary benefits.
  4. Additional resources: Supplemental materials such as letters of recommendation or art portfolios are great ways to show off your talent, passion, and what makes you unique.
  5. Skills: Do you speak another language? Can you code? Are you great at reading maps or charts while hiking? Can you ride a unicycle? Let universities know what you can do and what you can bring to their school. Feel free to brag a little bit and let them know why you’re so special.
  6. Pick high school classes accordingly: If you think you might already know what you want to do later in life, or if you want to try something out, take advantage! If you like engineering and think you might want to pursue that field in college, try out your high school’s engineering elective. After all, universities will be more likely to accept you if you’ve demonstrated interest and gained some experience in the field to which you’re applying. Similarly, if you think you know what you want to study in college, challenge yourself and take an AP class in a potential field of interest. Trust me, it helps to knock out some introductory courses in high school if given the opportunity.
  7. GPA: Lastly, do your best. Your GPA is one of the main components that goes into college admissions decisions. Take as many honors, AP, or IB classes as you can manage to show that you’re capable of taking on a challenge. Even if it means you’ll earn a slightly lower grade in the class, you’re showing that you can deal with higher levels of work and are not afraid to go beyond your comfort zone. Also, some high schools weight these types of courses differently so that earning a lower grade does not hurt your GPA as much. And earning a higher grade helps you even more!



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