University of Washington

How Do I Make Myself Stand Out During a Pandemic?

Students and parents across the country are scratching their heads, trying to figure out what matters to colleges on applications when nothing in our world is normal. Since SAT/ACT testing is not readily available, and many extracurricular activities have been ruled out, how does a student possibly stand out?

Colleges & universities will be paying VERY close attention to “academic rigor” – did the student challenge themselves academically as much as they could have on their campus or elsewhere?

Spend some time checking out your community college options – all sorts of classes are offered online, and with dual enrollment, these classes are frequently offered FREE OF CHARGE to high school students! In addition to talking to your counselor, check out the career office at your high school to see what other academic offerings are available.

Think about how you want to represent yourself to colleges. Are you a strong math/science student who’d like to go that route in college? Be sure your high school schedule reflects your academic interests and be creative – there are no rules as to where or how you take classes and with online learning, many students have a lot more time in their schedules. Find some enrichment classes, pre-college summer programs or research opportunities in those areas to bolster your academic resume.

What if you are interested in studying English, history, or another subject in the humanities or social sciences? Challenge yourself to read everything a certain author has written, or a favorite genre, or a current topic of discussion, or start a blog to publish your own commentary on work you admire. Or you can put up content you have produced on a blog or vlog too – performances, writing samples, spoken poetry, etc. As we said, there are no rules, just think about what interests you and do it!

It’s important to be agile and creative when it comes to building your academic profile. Contact us if you need help figuring out how you can stand out.