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How To Make Your College Application More Personal

Last updated March 1, 2021

You might be familiar with the “big 3” factors in how colleges evaluate a college application - grades, standardized test scores (from the SAT or ACT), and essays. Your essays are of even greater importance with the advent of COVID-19, since things like extracurriculars aren't possible anymore. The key to writing a good essay is being specific, reflective, and transparent about your experiences and what events have shaped you into the unique person you are. 

One word of caution - don't rush to make all of your application essays about COVID-19. Every other student will be doing that, so if you choose to do the same, think about what makes your story unique. 

Here are 3 tips on how to show off the best, unique you on your college applications.

  1. Application Essays

A misconception about college essays is that they have to touch on an intense moment or obstacle in your life that you heroically overcame. One that might come to mind right now is COVID-19. In reality, college essays are a space for admissions officers to learn/understand things about you that your GPA, resume, and test scores can’t tell them. Maybe you’re really creative, a dedicated athlete, a caring sibling, a hard worker, or have beliefs or projects you’re passionate about. Any and all things like these are characteristics and interests that make you unique, and colleges love hearing about them!

There’s a place for you to rattle off all the things you’ve achieved—your resume. Make sure your college essays are covering new ground. If you’re talking about something that admissions officers can find in your resume, it’s time to switch it up.

If you need help with your essays, let us review them for you! We’ll provide actionable feedback and suggestions to you within 1 week of submission.

2. Short Answer Questions

Around ¼ of most college applications consist of short answer questions. These can seem light and easy, but use them to your advantage. Be as specific as possible, and draw on examples from real events/situations in your own life to answer these short questions. The more specific you are, and the more personal examples you provide (vs. writing abstractly and with generalizations), the better the reader understands you.

3. Extracurriculars and your resume

Don’t assume that the only activities that count as extracurriculars are clubs, student government, sports, volunteer work, etc. Babysitting, taking care of a sibling or your parents during COVID-19, activism, helping neighbors out, mowing lawns, learning an instrument, reading/researching deeply about a particular subject that fascinates you, and any creative outlet -- are all forms of extracurricular OR resume-worthy activities. 

If you need help working on your college applications, or essays, feel free to text us for help and our advisors will work with you every step of the way! Text "Hello" to 33-55-77!

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