How to Make Your College Applications Stand Out if You Feel "Average"

8 Ways to Make Your College Applications Stand Out

Being one of hundreds of students sending in college applications can make you feel like you need to do something more to stand out. This list will give you tips to make that happen!

Apply Early

If you have a top choice college that you want to attend, make the effort to get your application in early. You'll certainly stand out and your application will be front in line. 

Manage Yourself Online

It's important for your media self to be just has professional as your college application self. Check through your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts and ensure that you are showing the person you want colleges to see. Don't forget to check for photos and posts you are tagged in.

Read the Instructions First

How many times has your mom had to tell you this during homework time or before you took a test? Well now would be the best time to listen. College applications are not something you can rush through. Read all of the requirements for each section and make sure you fully understand them. Don't go over the maximum word count in essays and don't include extra materials unless they specifically ask. 

Do Your Research and Show It

Working on multiple college applications can get tricky and you may end up putting a college name or information into the wrong application. You also might get into the habit of writing general short answers and essays that you can use in multiple applications. Not personalizing or including specific information can leave the admissions office wondering if you really want to be there. So instead, talk about a specific program you're excited about or write about how a moment in your life affected you.


Pay Attention to Details

Most students would be thrilled to see an "Essay Optional" sign on their application. But you? No way. Show your potential college that you made the effort to write a great essay anyway. That small decision could be the difference in whether or not you get admitted.

Be the One in Charge

Help from parents is never a bad thing but don't let them get caught up in running the show. You decide on what school you want to visit or interview with. If you have questions, write them down and call the admissions office yourself. School will take notice and appreciate you doing it rather than your mom.

Include a Resume of Your Accomplishments

Remembering to include a resume of accomplishments and activities you were involved in will be helpful because you might not be asked about them in the application. If you were heavily involved in a specific group and want to continue on in college, mention that too. This is your opportunity to show colleges other way you stand out.


Do not hit that submit button once you’ve finished your college application! Proofreading is so important. You could have written the perfect essay, but one of your sentences has too many big words in it. Have someone close to you proofread your work. You don’t need to sound super smart. You want them to sound like your own voice. A parent, counselor or friend can catch mistakes that you’ve overlooked and suggest some changes to help you sound more natural.

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