Top 10 Things That Look Good on College Applications

Preparing for college starts years earlier. It’s important to know what looks good on college applications so you work towards it. We offer the top 10 things.

The process of applying for a college is not an easy one. If you are struggling and wondering what looks good on college applications, you are at the right place. 

Your college application is the first step for colleges to get to know who you are and why they would want you on their college campus. Your activities, interests, and tendencies take the lead in the application. Accurate applications demonstrate care and thoroughness. 

Keep reading to learn some of the best qualities you should strive for when considering putting any in the application. 

What Do Colleges Look For in Applicants?

What colleges look at the most and least in applicants depends on the institution. Some institutions take a more academic approach where the most critical factor is the transcript. 

On the other hand, other institutions go for a more holistic review. During a holistic review, every piece of your application is thoroughly reviewed to fully understand your background and experiences. 

Holistic reviews include grades, essay(s), standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

What Looks Good on College Applications?


Although all colleges have different evaluation methods, you should keep in mind that they all value intelligent, ambitious, and passionate students. The more selective the college application review, the more outstanding you should strive to be; you need to leave a lasting impression if you hope to get in. That’s why your college application must emphasize your most outstanding qualities. 

If you are curious about what volunteer work looks good on college applications or are still wondering about “How can I stand out in college?” look at the list below. We have listed the specific qualities you should strive for that you can include in your application to increase your possibilities of getting accepted.

High GPA

Students with high GPAs receive greater recognition and have access to more options. A high GPA, for example, can help you apply for a scholarship, participate in extracurricular activities, join other clubs and groups and most importantly, enroll in a graduate or post-graduate program. 

Please don’t wait until it’s too late to improve your GPA. It’s essential in the college admissions game. If you postpone until late junior or senior year to start making changes, you may have missed out on an opportunity to impress.

Excellent test scores

Whether or not it is required, your SAT or ACT score can help you stand out. Explore the school profiles to see the range of usual scores at the institutions you’re considering. Then, take a practice SAT or practice ACT to know where you stand. Create a test-prep strategy to help you improve your test-taking abilities. A high score will help you gain admission to your top institutions of choice—and even earn scholarships to help you pay for school.

Academic clubs


Starting a club is an excellent idea for college. This type of high school project exhibits initiative, leadership, and drive, all of which are qualities that college admissions officers look for in applicants. 

However, you should not start a group just to have an excellent college application. Starting a club should be motivated by a desire to make a difference in your high school and its students. 

Internships or jobs

It is no secret that college admissions become more competitive every year. Sometimes only a high GPA or perfect test scores are not enough. When you feel that that’s the case, make sure that you have something more compelling that could add extra points; it could be an internship or a job you have had during your school years. 

The importance of internships or jobs lies in showing your desired college you can be a successful multi-tasker. Colleges appreciate those who have excellent management and organizational skills. 

Moreover, an internship can be a stepping stone in helping you determine your career choice. So, if you still have time, work toward it. And, if you have already done it, make sure to include it in the application. 

Leadership roles

Leadership skills are essential in college admissions. Hundreds of thousands of students have exceptional grades and test scores. Still, an applicant’s outstanding activity in school clubs, athletics, or community organizations frequently distinguishes them and wins them an acceptance letter.

Leadership matters to colleges because they believe that student leaders can transform what they learn at college into meaningful contributions to the world or even bring something new to the college.



Activities always look good in college applications. They help make your college application shine beyond your GPA and standardized test scores. 

Sports can be a beneficial extracurricular activity. They often require a significant time commitment and serve as an excellent display of a student’s ability to manage time effectively. Furthermore, if you were a team captain or played another vital role on your team, they can highlight your leadership abilities.

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Artistic activities

Next on the list of activities you can add to your application are artistic activities—these activities show that you have broader interests than just academics. However, this doesn’t mean that you must take a creative activity just to add it to the list. Instead, do something you are passionate about; this way, you can make the most of your time, and it won’t feel like a responsibility.

Moreover, having an artistic sense enables you to see things from different perspectives and notice minor details. This helps you achieve extraordinary results by bringing your creativity and innovation to the world. 

Community service

Students who desire to learn and have a thoughtful dedication to improving their community stand out above hundreds of other applications! Community service activities allow you to show leadership, creativity, and compassion. A lot of students do well in classes, but not everyone is dedicated and interested in engaging outside the classroom to try and make a positive impact on the campus. But, if you are one of these few students, you will stand out. 

Well-written essays


Essays are an important part of your college application as it’s one of the only areas where you can showcase your qualities. Essays are usually well appreciated by colleges. 

But how can you guarantee your essay will impress those who read it? Generally, you should consider these steps:

  • Be honest: You need to be honest and describe things that have happened in reality. Avoid exaggerating or even lying about situations. 
  • Be specific: Employ details that will support your main idea. In return, you will get a much better-written piece that will make your essay way more memorable and unique.
  • Be eloquent: The importance of eloquence and editing are unmatched. No matter how good your story plot is, you won’t get accepted if you have many grammar mistakes. Take your time and practice your writing skills. 

Letters of recommendation

Last but not least, we have letters of recommendation. Admissions officers value letters of recommendation in particular because the experiences described by high school counselors and instructors can help them construct a better picture of who you are and the impact you will have on campus.


Overall, the purpose of a college application is to help you stand out from the crowd in a good, memorable, and one-of-a-kind way. Try to include some of your best qualities as a student and individual. If you have no idea where to start, you can go through the options listed above. However, don’t limit yourself only to these options; if you deem other options valuable, go for it!

Be genuine. Usually, colleges can tell when students are attempting to impress them. Seek to create an application that represents who you are and how you fit in with a college’s goal, academic environment, and campus culture. 

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