The process of applying for college can be a little overwhelming at times. You know it’s competitive, so you have to ensure that you stand out, and yet at the same time, the prospect of selling yourself in that way can feel uncomfortable or awkward. That’s why it helps to focus on specific goals you’ve achieved and concrete examples of how you’ve shown leadership, overcome adversity, or experienced personal growth.
So, what sort of topics can you discuss in your personal statement that will show these successes? Here are four ideas you can use for inspiration.
1. Academic Achievements
One of the most obvious places to start when it comes to college applications is your academic achievements. To begin with, check CampusReel’s “How to get into NYU” guidelines to see if you have the grades necessary to get in. Then think about how you can best highlight your successes.
For example, do you have an exceptional GPA? Have you been awarded any accolades? Are you on the honor roll? Did you take any AP classes? All of these will show colleges that you’re a conscientious and intelligent student, help you stand out from the crowd, and give admissions tutors the confidence that you’ll be able to excel in your chosen degree program.
Colleges are eager to see that you’ve taken part in extracurricular activities during your time at high school, so be sure to highlight these. It doesn’t matter what they are specifically – whether it’s sports, music, languages, or the arts – but rather what you’ve gained from doing them.
Consider how you’ve shown and developed traits such as leadership, time management, communication, and teamwork through your extracurriculars and how they’ve enabled you to broaden your horizons. Admissions tutors want to see that you’ll be a well-rounded student who contributes to a diverse and positive culture on campus. Plus it’s a great way to show them more of your unique personality!
Volunteering is an activity that’s guaranteed to look impressive on a college application. It shows that you are mature, dedicated, and passionate about helping your local community. For bonus points, you might like to choose a volunteering opportunity that ties in with the program you’re applying for.
As an example, if you want to study medicine, then a volunteer position related to healthcare is ideal. Alternatively, if you want to be a teacher, then volunteering to tutor other students might be more appropriate. It shows that you’re truly interested in your chosen subject and also that you have a better notion of what a career in the field might involve.
4. Work Experience
If you have a part-time job, worked over the holidays, or undertook a summer internship, mention this in your application. It doesn’t matter if it’s not glamorous! Paid employment of any kind shows responsibility and maturity and helps you develop all sorts of useful skills.
It also demonstrates that you can successfully balance studying with working and participating in your hobbies. Try to point to specific examples of your workplace achievements if you can – feel free to ask your boss for ideas if you’re not sure what these might be!