How to Boost Your College Application, Resume, & Portfolio

Once a student starts high school, it might not take long until their focus shifts to college preparation. According to CNBC, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, undergraduate admission has surged 22%. In addition, the typical student has gone from applying to 12 schools to 25. With this uptick in applications, getting admitted to a preferred institution becomes a more significant hurdle.

While the CommonApp process has been underway for the class of 2022, future classes have an attainable amount of time to explore various methods of padding applications to get a competitive edge when it’s time to start the process.

With campuses in Noblesville and Westfield, IN, Options Charter School provides programs that destine students for future success in professional & personal endeavors. Below are some recommendations to help students stand out from the pack, among thousands of applications!

#1: Obtain College Credits While in High School

Earning college credits while still in high school is an incredible opportunity! Not only do you get a head start with higher learning, but it relieves the pressure of taking advanced classes, saves money, and makes you look more appealing to college admissions offices. Show your college choice that you’re serious about pursuing a college degree!

Prior to beginning a college-level class, remember: it’s not a high school class. To pass a college course, you must demonstrate the same competencies as a full-time college student. While these curriculums can be more rigorous, they reap the rewards.

Eligible students have the opportunity to enroll in dual-credit courses while still working towards their high school diploma. Opportunities include college & trade credits. Students can earn credit at Ivy Tech, J. Everett Light Career Center, ABC Construction and Gaylor Electric.

#2: Jumpstart a Specialized Project

While high test scores and strong transcripts are essential parts of the college application process, showcasing individuality and unique passions also goes long. When people tackle special projects in their spare time, it highlights their dedication and talents, and of course, gives them a leg up in the application process. The Options Senior Institute Project is a great project to highlight, especially with the community impact and work involved.

What are some examples of specialized projects that students pursue?

  • Volunteering for non-profit organizations (Options Senior Institute Project)
  • Music composition, recording, and performing
  • Creative writing projects
  • Learning how to program
  • Submitting works to local publications

Learn more about how passion projects elevate college applications!

#3: Get on Track for Towards a Future Career

Do you have an idea of the work you’d like to do in the future? Do you not know where to start? Job shadowing is a great way to get an idea of what your potential future in the professional world could be like. There are many benefits, and it can help open doors where you wouldn’t otherwise have access without experience or connections.

In addition, it highlights a solid work ethic to colleges. Career programs show a student’s dedication to a particular field of study or their potential major, making you a great candidate on paper and as a fully-formed learner.

#4: Taking the Standardized Test That Showcases Your Strengths

The best time to take a standardized test is during your junior year of high school. This allows you plenty of preparation, which will make the experience smoother for yourself when you prepare for sending out college applications. Standardized testing options include The American College Testing exam (ACT) or Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT).

What’s the difference between these two tests? Students who excel in language arts or related subjects frequently opt to take the ACT. Learners who fare better with quantitative reasoning and evidence find that the SAT works more in their favor.

#5: Tackle Extracurriculars That Bring You Joy

Extracurriculars are far more than just hobbies! Participating in extracurricular activities shows off aspects of your personality and characteristics as a learner that form an impression on the parties reviewing your application. After-school activities demonstrate your ability to learn new skills, lead your peers, and tackle your passions.

What are some examples of extracurricular activities that typically look strong on a college application?

  • Leadership activities
  • Internships
  • Athletics
  • Work experience
  • Academic teams & clubs
  • Creative groups
  • Technological skills
  • Political activism
  • Studying or volunteering abroad

Belong, Believe, & Achieve with Options Schools

Founded in 2002, Options Schools are free, public charter schools serving grade 6-12 students in 134 school districts across Indiana. With a high-quality, individualized approach to education, Options Schools specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment, unparalleled support, and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1. With brick-and-mortar campuses in Noblesville and Westfield, Options also offers additional programs in online, hybrid and in-person formats.

Explore Options, today!