Standing Out From The Crowd: Tips on Catching a College’s Attention


Cameryn Saunders, Writer

The contents in a student’s college application heavily influence the admissions decision, to which small changes may help boost his or her chances for success. 

Many high school seniors face the process of filling out college applications, which is a major aspect of a student’s possible admission. Choosing what to submit to colleges can make or break a student’s possible acceptance. A great way to catch a college’s attention is to find ways to make one’s application stand out. Standing out from other applicants may influence the admission counselor’s choice, as they may remember a unique application.

The College Board states, “Many factors play an important role in college admissions decisions. Admission officers consider all the information in your child’s application carefully because they want to make sure your child is a good fit for their institution and will likely succeed there.”

Colleges read thousands of essays, to which many student submissions can start to get lost in the crowd. To prevent this, a student can write a more creative essay that others may not think of. This may catch the admission’s counselor’s attention when going through all of the applicants. Some topics may include unique experiences, individual life lessons, or other personal projects or goals.

According to the University of Florida, “Your college essay gives our admissions officers an insight into what makes you unique beyond your high school grades, test scores, and extracurriculars.”

Another way to catch a college’s attention is to include a resume when sending applications in. Although it may not always be required, it may boost the student’s chances of being accepted. This could show the admission counselor some of the student’s acheivements, as well as the activities they have been involved in throughout high school. Colleges aware of this knowledge may feel more confident to admit the student to the school.

The State University of New York states, “An activities resume is a great way to highlight your strengths and inform colleges about your out-of-class accomplishments and special talents.”

A way to further attract a college is to send an update to the college on your senior year achievements or grades. When most students apply to college, they send in their initial grades from the end of junior year. If a student has an impressive school record in their senior year, a way to catch the school’s attention would be to send one mid year and final year update showing their progression. This information may not be required from all colleges, however it may help to send these reports to have more to offer on your application.

Khan Academy States, “Colleges want to make sure that your trajectory in high school continues and that you finish strong, so they typically ask for an update on your grades from your guidance counselor after the first half of your senior year and again once again once you finish senior year.”

Colleges want to know more about the person, rather than their student life. As college admissions read through many applications, it can be easy to blend in with other applicants. By providing more personalized information on your application, a college may become more interested in your application and remember it when deciding who to admit to the school.