You’ve finally reached the age or grade level where it’s time to start thinking about college. Do you have a few colleges already picked out? Are you ready to start applying to colleges?
Many high school students begin planning for their college applications in their sophomore and junior years. It’s helpful to start early so you can craft an application filled with jaw-dropping accomplishments and things to say about yourself.
It’s important to note that no matter which college you’re applying to, there are thousands of other high school students applying to the same college. How can you stand out from the competition? If your application is eye-catching, you’ll have a substantially better chance of being accepted.
In the guide below, you’ll learn eight tactical college application tips to make your application stand out from the rest. Let’s dive in.
1. Get Organized and Start Early
If you haven’t filled out a college application before, then it’s important to note that each college application will require various documents or proof of certain things. For example, you’ll need a variety of transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, and more. Because there are so many different documents required by all of the colleges’ applications, you need to start the process early and get organized.
Each college will have its own deadline of when the completed application needs to be received. Use a planner to write down the different application dates and what’s required for each one.
Start preparing all of the documents needed for each application and make copies that you can place in folders with the name of the college on them.
2. Have It Proofread For Errors
Once you finish writing your essays and answering questions on your application, be sure to proofread them for any errors. You should take the time to proofread it yourself and then give it to someone else to proofread as well. A pair of fresh eyes will most likely catch an error that you might miss.
This is a crucial step to take when preparing your application. If a college spots a grammatical error on your application, then this could cause you to lose your spot. Don’t make this mistake.
3. Include the Requested Information
Another crucial tip to keep in mind is to understand all requested information. Know exactly what the college is asking from you. If you forget to include one item requested on the application, this could cost you your acceptance letter.
This is another mistake that’s easy to avoid but comes with great costs otherwise. We know how overwhelming it can be to prepare several college applications at once.
As mentioned, you’ll want to stay organized and write down what each application needs from you. Create a checklist if not provided with one and check off each item as you add it into the college’s folder.
4. Feature Extracurricular Activities and Clubs
If you start the application process early, then you’ll have time to start signing up for various extracurricular activities and clubs. The more involved you are at your high school, the better. An impressive list of extracurricular activities will show colleges that you’re a well-rounded individual.
The more you list on your application, the better it’ll look. Some examples to add are as follows:
- participation in sports
- club involvement
- charitable work
- volunteer activities
Don’t forget to add your academic achievements as well. Some academic achievement examples are as follows:
- honor roll
- member of the honors society
- AP courses
- awards and accomplishments
- grade point average
Allow your college application to show who you are as an individual and as a member of your school.
5. Get Creative With Your Application
When the reviewer has your application in their hands, you want them to notice something that makes them slow down just a bit. To do this, you’ll need to get creative. All of the information you provide should be accurate and factual, but you can get a bit creative by printing your application and documents on a fancy type of paper.
Or, you could include a drawing or print out of a piece of digital piece that you created. Just make sure to explain why it’s relevant to your application.
You can also use creativity when writing your college essays. Remember to add a hook in your intro to grab the reader’s attention and pull them into your essay.
6. Show the True You
Tell them who you really are, not who you think they want you to be. Why? Because there is only one “you” in the universe, which means that being who you really are can help you to stand out.
For example, if you love something that is trending right now—such as the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, or NFTs, for example—make sure to mention that.
Colleges want to produce graduates who will lead the next wave of technology, and perhaps, found start-up companies in these rapidly growing fields fields.
7. Complete College-Level Courses in High School
Did you know you can take college courses while still in high school? There are many benefits of taking college classes while still in high school.
Not only do you get college classes out of the way sooner, but you can also save money by not having to take them once you get into college.
When you’re ready to start college, you’ll already be a step ahead of everyone. This looks great on your college application and shows your dedication. It also proves that you can handle a college-level courses, which academically, will make you more of a “sure bet.”
8. Involve Yourself in the Community
For your final college application tip, try to get involved in the community. Ask your school about available volunteer opportunities. Volunteer at your local hospital, help build a new home, or do something else within your community.
Your volunteer hours don’t have to be with the school. Do some research to find out where you can volunteer. Choose something that you enjoy doing as well so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
The more passionate you are about your volunteer service, the better. Why? Because when you write an essay about it or talk about it during an admissions interview, your enthusiasm will show through.
The Best College Application Tips to Succeed
Inspired to to start filling out your college applications? When that time comes, you now know some of the best college application tips to give you an edge. Remember to start the process early, so you have plenty of time to craft a creative and compelling application.