Your best shot of getting into any college or university is based on your authenticity. Colleges want to see who you are and what genuinely excites you. This is where the term “passion” is so frequently used. You can showcase your “passion” through your Extracurricular Activities and Essays. This is the part of the application that separates you from the rest of the applicant pool. 

Extracurricular Activities

How do you spend your time away from the classroom? How do you showcase your passion or skill? Are you deeply involved in a certain activity or organization? Have you held a leadership position in an organization? How have you contributed to the improvement of your community? What community service have you done? Do you have a job? Were you a manager at a job? Is your extracurricular activity going to help admissions officers distinguish you from other applicants?


Who are you? What is your story? What lessons in life has contributed to your growth as individual? What are your passions and how will college help you pursue them? What experiences in your life separates you from other individuals?

Unique Projects

Projects that will make the admissions officer go “Wow, you don’t see this every day from a high schooler!”

Knowledge of School and Demonstrated Interest

Contact your regional admissions counselors for your top desired institutions. Join email and mailing lists of your top choice schools. Conduct thorough research of that school (Mission Statement, Extracurricular Organizations, the surrounding area, etc.)




  • Have one "standout initiative" that you are passionate about and have made a huge contribution in. This initiative should either showcase your expertise in a particular field or your passion towards a certain cause. 
  • Try to "lead" something. Whether it is becoming a manager at a job or becoming the president of an organization at school, showcase your ability to lead a team to a certain goal. 
  • Complete activities geared towards your specific interest of study. For example, if you are passionate or have a strong interest in law/politics, consider joining the debate team or interning at a local law office. 
  • Have a "U" activity. A "U" activity is an activity that has nothing to do with your interest of study but instead focuses on something that excites you and takes your mind away from educational activities such as Asian Culture Club or Fencing.
  • Do not try to "stack" leadership positions to impress colleges. Having one or two solid activities on your application will get a great indication of what type of person you are aside from academics.  




  • Think outside of the box. Don't confine yourself to what you think a college wants to hear. Say what you want the college to know about you.
  • Your essay SHOULD NOT be a repetition of your resume, GPA, or anything that has already been mentioned in your application. Colleges know what you did (you already listed it) so talk about something else. 
  • Consider comparing life events, experiences, or traumas to a certain concept or an object. For example, considering using greek yogurt as a symbolism for your past relationship with food and how you overcame being overweight. 
  • Try to stay away from cliche topics such as "The time you got a B in a class" or "The time you scored the winning goal in a soccer game." Be authentic and creative with your topics. 
  • Have your essays proofread by someone that is not friends with or related to you. Get unbiased opinions on your essay and ask them what this essay tells them about you.