Three Ways You Can Stand Out When Applying to Colleges

If you have your heart set on attending a highly selective school, then you should start planning.

What are some ways to make your high school resume impressive to colleges? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Admission rates at top colleges have become more competitive over the past 10 years, with even the best students finding themselves on the waitlist or rejected from many of the schools on their list. If you have your heart set on attending a highly selective school, then you should start planning on ways to get your resume and application to stand out from the crowded field.

Get Published

Proving that you are a good writer through top grades and high SAT scores is one thing, but earning a byline is an excellent way to distinguish yourself. You can get started by writing for your school newspaper, and then reach out to local publications and pitch them that you can write articles from a student’s perspective.

If you don’t think you want to commit to writing for an established publication, you can also self-publish. Write a Medium post or a personal blog about the research you have completed, or summer camp and volunteer experiences. If you don’t have a blog yet, you can start one for free with WordPress, Tumblr or Wix.

Start A New Group

Find your passion and think outside the box to bring your interests to the rest of the community. If you love doing arts or crafts, you could consider starting a weekly summer program for local children. You could even visit a nursing home and do simple arts with the residents. Growing the group shows initiative and displays your leadership skills and resourcefulness to college admission officers.

Create Something Online

High school students who are technologically gifted might consider reaching out to a local, small nonprofit and offering their talents. You can help them revamp their website or build an app. You can also offer to run a social media campaign or create marketing materials for a nonprofit. You might even offer to write blog posts. Volunteering and creating meaningful work can be showcased on your resume, and you can link all your creations to your LinkedIn profile.

Making your high school resume more impressive to colleges isn’t as challenging as you might think. By taking the initiative, you can gain invaluable skills that will benefit you both in college and in your future career. You might also form new connections within your community and discover where your academic interests lie.

This question originally appeared on Quora.

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