Millions of people apply to American colleges and universities each year. Their most challenging task is to make themselves stand out above the crowd in order to be noticed and accepted into the ranks of the incoming class. Exactly how can you go about using your college application to distinguish yourself from everyone else?
DON’T RUSH IT
Your application and the compelling, unique and personal essay that accompanies it must not be slapdash, randomly thrown together accumulations of data to be completed at the last minute. Begin thinking about what makes you different and unique months before the deadline. Talk to your parents, relatives and friends, and jot ideas and thoughts down so that they can percolate. A winning application will be clear, well-organized and subtly different from all others. You will not accomplish any of these qualities if you adopt the cramming mentality.
BECOME THE BEST NARRATOR OF YOUR LIFE
Your application is the small but comprehensive package that contains your unique story. Admissions staff will only spend a few minutes with it, so make sure every word, phrase and image is compelling and shares aspects of your background, personality and assets that the reader can understand. Your goal is to communicate the many special characteristics you can bring to their campus, not the other way around.
UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU ARE APPLYING
Although you will probably write one essay that you send parts of to all of your top colleges, do research on each, and tailor your applications accordingly. Admissions staff want to know why you are specifically interested in going to their particular institution, so be sure to subtly weave any information you have gained from campus visits or personal interactions with professors or coaches into your application.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO TOOT YOUR OWN HORN
Most colleges have a huge pool of prospective students from which to choose, and they want the ones who are most likely to excel. The best predictor of who those people will be is what they have done in the past, and the only way admissions staff will obtain this information is via your application. To that end, share with them the causes or hobbies you are passionate about, and don’t be shy. If you started a club, organized an event, wrote a book or founded your own business, this is the time to tell the people who can help to shape your future all about it.
DON’T GET PARALYZED
If all of this seems overwhelming and impossible, know that you are not alone and that many of the most successful college students found themselves in the same position at one time. Instead of giving up on your dreams because the application process seems too daunting, talk to a college application consulting service. These professional companies stake their reputations on the success of their clients; therefore, they are highly qualified and motivated to help you succeed.
Think of getting into college as a long flight of stairs. At the bottom is your set of skills, experiences and accomplishments that you hone and enhance with each step.
By the time you reach the top, you are ready to use your application as your personal messenger to the educational institutions of your choice. A college application consulting company can help you prioritize tasks, identify your strengths and make them known in the most compelling way.