Developing a “Stand Out” Admissions Application


Admissions officers (AOs) at schools throughout the country pore over hundreds of entrance application every year. What helps them to choose one over another?

How do you take a blank admissions application and transform it with your personality, achievements, and enthusiasm?

Be serious about the process.

Give yourself plenty of time to complete it. You’ll want time to double-check and allow others to review it for you. Stay within the word limit wherever stated. Don’t include any materials not specifically requested, especially no gimmicks (AOs find them irritating!).

“Hit the ground running” with essays and short answers.

Readers enjoy a great opening line; attention is captured with a small “slice of life” story. Write about how specific instances in your life affected you.

Demonstrate your knowledge about the school.

Nothing is more irritating (other than gimmicks) than using the wrong school name, reciting incorrect facts about the school, or essays/short answers so vague the reader has no idea why you want to attend. Be sure about the facts and identify why you wish to attend that particular school. Don’t create the impression you’ve submitted a cookie-cutter application.

Mention the interest you’ve demonstrated.

How interested are you in that school? Mention visits you’ve made and conversations with school reps, professors, and student leaders. Show you’ve pored over the school’s website by revealing information not easily found.

Other ways to stand out.

Apply early, include a resume of your accomplishments (be sure the school will accept it), and manage your social media (don’t give the school a reason to say no).

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