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4 unique college application formats to consider

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What is the most important aspect of your college application? Distinguishing yourself. Certain students achieve this goal with high grades or test scores, others write remarkable personal statements or utilize networks and personal connections. But can your application format aid you in this goal? A growing number of students are developing engaging applications that transcend the traditional structure. Here are four unique “looks” to consider:

Videos
This tactic may not be as original as it once was, but when used correctly, it is undoubtedly effective. Consider animation, dance, song, etc.—wherever your talent lies. Ensure you are creative and relevant, and emphasize the three “why’s”: why you are an interesting person (both academically and personally), why you wish to attend this school, and why you will be successful there.

If you choose to go this route, make sure to follow your school’s specific file requirements.

Websites
Few schools will ask you to create a website for your college application, and that is precisely why this format can assist you in your endeavor to shine. Start a blog with articles and videos about your major, or a website dedicated to your academic and extra-curricular activities. A photography portfolio with images of your school projects is another excellent medium to showcase your specialties.

Both Weebly and WordPress offer free online resources to aid you. You need not be familiar with code to build a meaningful – and effective – website.

Social media
Many college admissions officers review students’ Facebook pages or other social media personas. Some schools may even Google search applicants. Thus, your online reputation can easily either help or hurt you.

To ensure their (positive) attention, consider editing your entire Facebook page to reflect your application. This can be especially powerful if you focus on a specific school. Each post or section can be adapted to highlight an academic achievement or an extra-curricular activity, while also describing your interest in the college or university.

Challenges
Certain students think well outside the box in their quest to build unique applications. One applicant from Baltimore began his admissions essay with the following promise: "If admitted, I will walk to Yale." When he was accepted, he did just that.

Admissions officers read hundreds, if not thousands, of college applications. Such challenges can ensure that your bid for an acceptance letter remains fresh in their memories long after they read – or view – it.

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