May 20, 2022

Ways to Stand Out on Your College Application

Applying to college can be intense, especially when it comes to finding ways to stand out on your college application. But we know how to set you above your competition.

With jobs, volunteer work, and athletics students  can distinguish themselves from their peers. More than good grades and test scores, extracurriculars and other experiences can really help a student build out their resume and stand out from the crowd. 

But where can you get started? What are the best opportunities to build out your resume? In this blog, we’ll run through four ways you can stand out on your college application.

Activities

The easiest way to build up a resume is simply by being active. Students can seek out a leadership position in their school’s clubs, participate in a local sports team, or volunteer at their church, mosque, temple, or synagogue. They can explore the opportunities available within their community and seek out those experiences that interest them the most. In doing so, students demonstrate that they are interesting and well-rounded and help them stand out on their application.

Sometimes, this can be easier said than done. Clubs and teams that might interest a student might not exist. In these cases, we recommend students take initiative and build the organizations they want to see. Even more than mere attendance or participation, starting and leading a group can be a great way to show that a student is engaged and active with those around them.

Leadership Programs

Another great way to show that a student is engaged and active is by participating in a leadership program. These programs—put on by a college or local or national organization—teach students important skills so they can serve as leaders in their career, field, or community. 

Leadership programs vary wildly based on who runs them. They can involve service or training in a specific domain. They can be open to all or selective in their recruitment. For this reason, it’s important to look at the requirements for leadership programs early.

National programs include Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation, which teaches young people about leadership, service, and innovation, as well as Boys/Girls State, a selective program where students learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of citizens through simulations of elected office. College-run leadership programs include Miami University’s Summer Scholars program, which allows high school students to attend specialized classes in a field that interests them and that they might pursue upon graduation into college.

Internships

While summer jobs are a great way to start earning money now, an internship can be an opportunity for a high school student to get direct experience in the kind of field they want to pursue as a career. It introduces them to the kind of work they might do as a professional after graduation. It also demonstrates a student’s real interest and commitment to a career.

Internships, like any job, vary. For high school students interested in politics, opportunities can often be found at congressional offices or state legislatures. Students interested in medicine, meanwhile, can look to local hospitals and universities. Students might even call local businesses and offer to work as an intern to learn how a field works.

Separators

Finally, Class 101 helps students add “separators” to their resumes, unique activities and projects that separate them from everyone else. These parts of the resume are not merely honors like membership in the National Honor Society, but something uniquely built for each and every student.

A separator can be starting a charity. It can be launching a project that helps the homeless or impoverished in a student’s hometown. A separator can include work to benefit any number of people or groups. The only limitation is what a student and their Class 101 advisor can imagine.

***

Resumes are important for applying to college. They let admissions officers see all of what students have accomplished in their four years and the kinds of activities they are interested in. Resumes can also help students prepare for interviews or seek letters of recommendation from teachers and others.

If your student is interested in developing their resume and pursuing any of the items mentioned, please reach out to us at [email protected].

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