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8 tips on how to stand out when applying to colleges

As high school students around the nation are visiting colleges and writing application essays, how can you stand out to get accepted and the best financial aid from your top choice college? Here are some insider tips from our resident experts, the SPU Undergraduate Admissions team.

1. “Check your email and respond to our emails when asked!  Admissions Offices send important information about the admissions process and your application status as well as information you may have requested. We’ll ask you to respond sometimes and when you do, it demonstrates your interest in us!”

2. “Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable in your essay and discuss sensitive or challenging topics for you.  We want to know your real authentic self and any challenges you have experienced helps us better understand your situation.”

–Dennis Gagaoin, associate director of undergraduate admissions

3. “Send your Admissions Counselor an email. Introduce yourself and let them know why you are interested in attending the college. Then, ask to set-up a time to meet with them in person!”

4. “Visit the schools you are interested in. Most schools will let you sit in on classes, or even spend the night in residence halls. This is a great way to see if a school is a good fit for you.”

–Kristen Quackenbush, senior admissions counselor

5.  “Do not let finances be the reason you do not apply to a college or University. There are so many scholarships and grants available to make your top choice college a possibility.”

6. “Do not be afraid to ask questions! Your admissions counselor is available to help you with everything, so let us know if you have any questions or concerns.”

–Dan Thompson, multicultural outreach admissions counselor

7. “Don’t worry about having done every single extracurricular activity or having eight different leadership positions. We understand that high school is a busy time. But be prepared to show us in your essays something that you are passionate about. We want to see what’s important to you and learn more about your interests!”

8. “Proofread your essays! Have a friend or family member read your essay, read it out loud to yourself, or put it into Google Translate and have it read back to you. Essays with spelling errors or that are addressed to the wrong school stand out for the wrong reasons.”

–Luke Davis, undergraduate admissions counselor

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