Standing Out in the College Admissions Process

There may be few more competitive endeavors in a young person’s life than college admissions into the school of his or her choice. What’s a student (and parents) to do?

To view the full article please register below:

    First Name (required)

    Last Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Standing Out in the College Admissions Process

    Standing Out in the College Admissions Process

    Getting into to college isn’t so hard. Getting into a child’s preferred school, however, can be exceedingly difficult. Consider the admission rates of top private schools, like Stanford (5%), Princeton (6%) or Swarthmore (9%). Acceptance into a good public university isn’t much easier; the acceptance rates for UCLA, the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan are 14%, 23% and 26%, respectively.1,2

    There may be few more competitive endeavors in a young person’s life than seeking admission into the college of his or her choice. What’s a student (and parents) to do?

    10 Ways to Improve College Admission Odds

    There are a number of effective ways to help a student stand out from the deluge of applicants that apply each year to the nation’s best and most popular schools. Here are some top tips for students to consider.

    1. Make sure you take challenging and relevant courses in your junior and senior years, and receive good grades in them. Take advantage of Honors/AP courses and the International Baccalaureate program, if available.
    2. Make your personal statement uniquely yours. It should tell the story of who you are and how you became the person you are today. How did events and experiences affect you? What moments opened your eyes to new worlds and new levels of maturity?
    3. Your essays should be creative and engaging, and written by you! Reference books you’ve read. Inject some humor. Don’t be afraid of self-reflection.
    4. Participate in extracurricular activities. However, think quality, not quantity. A major role in one is viewed more positively than minor roles in many.
    5. Volunteer your time to an issue or organization for which you have a special passion. Admissions officers look for community involvement and passion in their students.
    6. Get course-related employment, though any form of employment is a plus.
    7. Your social media posts are looked at by admissions offices, so be careful about what you post.
    8. Actively engage with the college beforehand (e.g., attend informational sessions, speak with admissions reps and faculty members, etc.). Admission officers like to see real interest in the school.
    9. Go above and beyond, like completing the application’s optional sections and scheduling the optional interview. Provide examples of your work, like art, music or a research paper.
    10. Proofread your application! Nothing derails a great application than mistakes as they reflect a sloppy and disinterested applicant.

    Finally, it’s important to remember not to take rejection personally. Sometimes rejection is about nothing more than your application being reviewed on a late Friday after a long week. Stay positive because it’s not the college that makes for a great experience, it’s what the student makes of the college that defines the experience.



    Please reference disclosures:



    Vice President of Business Services 


      Subscribe to receive a monthly recap of our three most popular posts.

      Recent Videos


      AP Awards 2021