Beyond the conventional metrics of academic excellence and extra-curricular involvement, what makes you stand out to Ivy League colleges are your unique qualities that can have a positive impact on the university community and beyond. Here are five sought-after attributes that top colleges are looking for in students:

  1. Deep-seated passion- Universities are keen on identifying individuals who possess a deep-seated passion. Immerse yourself in a passion project that fosters personal growth and self-discovery and allows you to make a meaningful impact in your area of interest. This can range from developing sustainable technology to reduce carbon footprint and promote energy efficiency, to building your own Go Kart, to competing in national-level jigsaw-making competitions. This approach will highlight your dedication, and showcase potential contribution, positioning you as a passionate/unique and compelling candidate. 
  2. Commitment to Community– Showcase your commitment, empathy, and vigor to bring tangible changes in your community by proactively engaging in volunteer work that addresses a specific problem within your local community. For instance- in response to a trash dumping problem outside your colony, you organise regular cleanups and present the local government with a solution to trash dumping in residential areas. Or to address a stray animal problem, you might partner with a local animal shelter and organise fundraisers to help rehabilitate stray animals. Sustain this commitment throughout high school to highlight your dedication to the cause, allowing the university to know the kind of community member you will be on their campus.
  3. Lead by Example- Demonstrate your ability to organize events, guide others, and execute initiatives by taking on leadership roles in school clubs, teams, or community projects relevant to your interest. Initiate new projects, mentor peers, collaborate effectively for common goals, and drive positive changes, underscoring the depth and breadth of your leadership prowess.
  4. Communication and writing skills- Excel in articulating your thoughts and ideas with clarity and creativity in your personal essay as colleges use them to understand your personality and identity outside academics. Engage actively in reading newspapers like The Hindu and The New York Times to learn how to convey complex concepts effectively. Moreover, nurture your writing skills and hone your unique voice by maintaining a blog, journaling, or entering writing competitions.
  5.   Unique Achievements: Add richness to your narrative by adding the achievements that set you apart, whether it’s winning a National-level competition, conducting groundbreaking research, or creating an innovative prototype. These achievements will distinguish you from the pool of candidates, showcasing your capability to excel and innovate within your field of interest.

Remember these cornerstones of becoming an irresistible applicant and leverage them to showcase your potential and be a force they are compelled to reckon with.