When working on a college application, it can be difficult to know what all to include, how to phrase things, or how to effectively tell your story. Above all, you’re likely wondering how to make your application stand out. I reached out to our Valpo admissions counselors themselves (the staff who review your application!) and they shared some helpful tips on how to create an application essay that is not just presentable, but one that shines! ✨
- In your personal statement, talk about what your application leaves out:
- “Your personal statement is your chance to explain anything that may look unusual in your application! If your grades took a dip one year and then recovered, discuss how you may have struggled but persevered in your studies. If you don't have very many extracurricular activities or student organizations to list because you help out at home after school, let us know what sort of skills you have gained from that and how it has shaped you as a person. The personal statement is a great way to add the information that there might not be a specific place for in an application, but you still feel is important to share!” ~ Colleen Couch
- It’s okay to hype yourself up:
- “Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t be afraid to discuss the accomplishments and achievements you’re proud of, even if they’re not academic-based.” ~ Hannah Hill
- Have pride in your story:
- “Show yourself off! You should be proud of everything you’ve accomplished during your high school career. Include any clubs, organizations, volunteer work, etc. that you’ve done, both within your high school and outside. Truly put your best foot forward!” ~ Jessica Edgington
- Be your true self:
- “Include anything and everything that showcases the best version of your authentic self! Knowing the type of person you are can only help your chances of admission.” ~ Cameron Bobos
As a former prospective student, I totally understand the excitement, anxiousness, and anticipation that comes with drafting your personal statement! Here are some quick words of wisdom coming from a now junior at Valpo:
- Our staff cares about you!
- It is easy to feel like you just submitted your life story into the great beyond of the internet. Remember that on the other side of the submit button, there are people reading your application and essay who genuinely care and are interested about you and what you have to say.
- Take time to appreciate the moment:
- With the busyness of senior year, submitting college applications and drafting up personal statements may start to feel like a monotonous, daunting task on your to-do list to balance with athletics, clubs, etc. Remember that this is a very exciting start to your college journey! I still have videos come up in my Snapchat memories from 2 years ago of me clicking the “submit” button for my applications. You might just be sending off your essay to your future home!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Do not be afraid or feel bad asking questions. The admission counselors are here for you and want you to have all the resources and information that you feel you need to create your best application. I was no stranger to sending my counselor lots of texts and emails with questions and I gained peace of mind when he guided me to the answers I needed.
Best of luck as you begin drafting your applications. The admission office cannot wait to hear all about your journey through life so far, and we wish you all the best as you continue through your senior year!
-Maiah Deogracias, Class of 2024