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.
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?
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.)
A "Stand out" activity should be an activity that requires great time, effort, and dedication. This activity should potentially be geared towards your interest of study, community service, or anything that sparks your excitement about learning. This activity will be the centerpiece of your application and will most likely be the first listed activity on your college/scholarship application.
Tips for a great "Stand Out" Activity
There are numerous ways for students of all ages to get involved within their community. The volunteer opportunities available to students encompass a wide range of interests, including animal care, providing necessities for those in need, or even building houses. Various sites and organizations exist to help connect service-minded people with great causes. These can include one-time events or ongoing movements.
Churches: Churches often have outreach teams that find and organize community service events. Some churches even have opportunities for students to volunteer during services.
Soup Kitchens: Soup kitchens are a good way to get involved with a hands-on approach.
Nursing Homes: Nursing homes may offer positions for students to volunteer, such as serving food or entertaining the residents. They also may allow students or clubs to be part of the home's holiday celebrations, which could include passing out gifts or singing carols around Christmas time.
Animal Shelters: Shelters and rescues tend to offer opportunities for young adults to work alongside the animals under their care.
Charity Runs/Walks: Many non-profit organizations hold marathons to raise money for their causes. These events are hosted throughout most of the year and are usually open for anyone to participate.
Drives: There is always a need for certain items within or around the community. Drives can be held by local organizations, churches, schools, etc. If you are able and willing to donate clothes, toiletries, small gifts, books, blankets, or food, consider contributing to a drive.
Here are some sites that provide information about local volunteer opportunities:
Habitat for Humanity
Hands on Atlanta
Books for Africa
Atlanta Community Food bank