Top Tips to Craft a Winning College Application


When you consider how many thousands of applications a top-choice college will get, you start to realize just how important it is that you stand out. As a piece of paper will never be able to sum up the whole of who you are and what you want in life, there are better ways to show your interests, passions, and dedication. From your extra-curricular activities all the way to your personal essay, these top tips will help you be more strategic about your college application and stand out while you do it:

Create Your College Shortlist

Each application must be hand-crafted for the university in question, just like a job application should be catered to the employer. As such, you’ll want to whittle your options down to a shortlist. Don’t just look at the programs when making your decisions. You’ll want to also consider the resources and opportunities that are available to you outside of your syllabus. This means career services, mental health services, competitions, programs, and talks.

Understand Your Current Standing

Though there are a lot of considerations that will go into a college acceptance, the largest contributing factor will ultimately be your GPA and your SAT or ACT scores. If you don’t know your current GPA, don’t worry, since has a free high school GPA calculator that you can use to help. From there you’ll then want to see what the average accepted student has in terms of GPA and SAT scores for your college top picks, and then work to make sure youmeet this standard (which may be different from the minimum standard for your course).

Fill Out, and Double Check Your Applications

It’s so easy to miss something vital when filling out an application, so take your time. Fill it out as much as you can, and then wait a day or two before going back and double-checking it. This will help you catch any silly errors that could cause problems for your acceptance chances.

Tips for Your Personal Essay

A great personal essay essentially explains why you want to be on that specific course. Use your personal interests and history to showcase your passion for that field and outline your goals. This is, after all, what college admissions administrators are looking for when they read through your essays.

As for writing well, do it in stages and drafts. Start by writing out every reason you can think of why the course is a good fit for you (not why you’re a good fit for it). Once that’s all out, you can then start structuring your essay so it’s more readable and flows better. From there, edit it down. Editing it down is the best way to write concisely and well, since each word matters more.

Once you think you’re done, take a day or two away from it and then go back to edit it and polish it some more. Read it aloud, have others read through it, and then submit it with your application once it’s been checked over a few times.

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