Savvy Senior: Three Keys to a Stand-Out College Application

Can you believe it? Winter is almost over… Or at the very least, Spring is in sight! Either way you look at it, it’s still cold outside. By this point, I’m betting that some of you senior early birds have already wrapped up your first batch of college applications and may even have a major decision—pun intended—to make in just a few weeks! Others of you are in the final stretch of narrowing down your school selections, wrapping up essays, and anxiously anticipating the decision letters of the spring. If you’re a member of Group B (or a high school sophomore or junior that’s totally ahead of the game), today’s post is just for you! So without further ado—because really, we both know that you’re insanely busy—I give you…

Love, Me Photography’s Three (tried and true) Keys to a Stand-Out College Application.

  1. Ready, Prep, Go: Before you even think about digging into that blank college application, set aside time to do a little grunt work—and by grunt work, I mean “recalling all of your past achievements and compiling them onto a single resumé.” If you’re carrying the title of Fourth Grade Student of the Year, it’s probably okay to leave that one off the list. But anything and everything that happened from your freshman year of high school forward—cheerleader of the year, student of the week, debate club president, UIL journalism recognition, “Most Likely to be America’s Next Great Novelist” nomination—should be typed out and organized by year. Non-scholastic achievements are also important to note. Did you win a magazine’s writing contest? Have you held an after-school job? Are you addicted to running 5K races (or to the granola bars and bananas they hand out at the finish line)? Believe it or not, these details can be just as important to colleges as your class rank and GPA, because they allow the Admission Committee to get a well-rounded picture of who you are as a person, not just as a student.
  2. The Write Stuff: Okay, so you hate English class, you’re planning on majoring in math, and you avoid grammar lessons like the plague. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you still don’t get a free pass to blow off your college essays. Even if you have a super-high GPA, you can’t submit a sub-par writing sample and cross your fingers that the acceptance letter you’ve been praying for will simply plop into your mailbox. (Well, I guess you technically can, but trust me, it’s not a good idea.) If writing is not your thing, consider hiring a tutor to lead you through some exercises in thinking outside of the box. Admission Committee members read tons of essays. Yours is most likely to catch their attention if it employs creative language, a unique voice, solid grammar, and perfect syntax.
  3. Group Mentality: Colleges want to know where and how you’re going to fit into their already-existing student body. So put yourself on campus (mentally, that is), and show that Admission Committee exactly how you’ll fit into the group. Use specific examples and action verbs to really get your point across. For instance… “I’d love to continue building on the leadership skills I gained in high school by joining a sorority and helping plan philanthropy events.” “I was an active member of YoungLife at my high school, and I look forward to participating in on-campus Bible studies.” “I was a trombone section leader in my high school band, and I can’t wait to audition for the OU marching band. Performing at a National Championship game is a lifelong dream!”

There you have it! These methods are sure sure to get you into one (if not all!) of the schools of your dreams! When those acceptance letters start rolling in, feel free to take a photo and tag @lovemephotography on Instagram with #savvysenior. I’m excited to celebrate your hard work and success with you!