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  • Paulina Campanella

A Step-by-Step Guide to Beefing Up Your College Application

The prestige of an Edgemont student’s prospective university directly correlates to his or her sense of self-worth, in what we can all agree is a fantastically healthy culture for teenage minds. Yes, getting into an Ivy League university likely only means that you academically peaked in high school and have rich parents, but Edgemont is known for its competitive atmosphere even more than its abysmal school spirit (which really says something).

Although the status of being an Ivy League alum diminishes by the day, the fleeting feeling of validation you’ll get in twenty years when people say with mild esteem, “Wow, you graduated from Harvard?” will make all your efforts worth it. So read on below for a fool-proof guide to building your college application into something no competitive school can reject, ensuring your crushing debt for years to come!

Colleges want you to have a healthy balance between school and extracurriculars. Of course, taking exclusively AP and Honors classes plus self-studying for 6 APs won’t leave you much time to do this, so you’re going to have to work especially hard to give the illusion of contributing to the school without actually doing anything.

Here’s a pro-tip: at the Activities Fair in the beginning of the year, sign up for every club available to show that you have a wide array of interests and skills. Then, go to the first meeting of each club and mention that you’re in another club that meets at the same time, so you might not always be able to come to said club meetings. Now, you’re able to ditch 95% of the meetings for the rest of the year with a totally valid excuse, leaving extra time to study for your AP classes! Just be sure that you stay on the Google Classroom page and that you don't do this for clubs run by potential recommendation-writing teachers.

Next, you’ll want to show that you can work on a team by participating in athletic activities. For sports, cross country is a great option: show up, and about ten minutes into your run, veer off course and simply run home to do homework. No one will ever notice, and you’ll maximize your output by getting credit for academics and athletics at the same time. What’s even more meaningful to your application is the grade boost you’ll get from having an extra free period every day during gym. And most of all, that sports credit will truly convey how much being a part of a team means to you!

Unique volunteer work is crucial to a college application (key word: unique). High-schoolers volunteer at nursing homes and soup kitchens left and right, and admissions officers are so over it. It’s not like there are any benefits to helping the eldery and homeless other than getting into your dream school, so stay away from those activities if you want to stand out on your application.

Instead, stick to buzzwords like “global warming” for a novel and productive volunteer experience: I spent four summers at the farm, sweating in the beating sun of the fields and shoveling mounds of cow poop from the grass—all in the name of reducing methane emissions and global warming! (Note that students can volunteer at nursing homes if they’ve read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and are willing to work elements of the story into a dramatic college essay about their experiences—it’s only a lie if you get caught.)

Go for an internship too! On top of your volunteer work; you want to display a variety of experiences distinct from competing applicants. Consider interning at! Sure, you’ll never see your boss in the flesh—you’re not entirely sure he exists—and you may end up accidentally mediating a few drug deals at knifepoint behind the store, but the leadership and personal skills you’ll receive from interacting with your zero customers and maybe some people asking for directions to Burger King will be invaluable to your college application (plus, the life-or-death experience makes for a great college essay).

The next critical element to a college application? A Spanish speaking island. That’s it—no details, no appreciation for a diversity of cultures different from yours—just the island. The golden word. For your purposes, this island exists only as the place you visited over the summer in a life-changing experience. In your application, you’ll want to explain that when you got home, you gained a newfound appreciation for your upper-middle class Edgemont life—so much so that you gave up TikTok to become more down to Earth! (Of course, Youtube Shorts and Instagram Reels are basically TikTok now so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice, but that has no business on your application.) And if you slip up and accidentally refer to your Spanish speaking country as a place you stayed at a resort in when you were 9 with your parents rather than the destination of your intense and grueling volunteer work, don’t worry—admissions officers won’t notice, because they probably have the same embarrassingly limited knowledge of relatively undeveloped destinations as you!

A real strong point to have on your application is a number-one-in-the-nation spot. Edgemont already has kids who are top debate students, win awards for quantum physics research, and run their own successful companies (plus hundreds of other students who aren’t Anisha Musti), so you should play it safe and to your strengths here.

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the longest someone has gone without sleep is eleven days. Eleven days? That’s nothing! AP exams alone take up fourteen days—you got this. Here’s another tip: if you attempt to break this record during APs and feel yourself slipping to sleep, have no fear. Simply remember that you have a term paper due in the middle of both AP weeks and you should be good to go!

If the stress of hitting all these points on your application (and the extraordinary lack of sleep) is starting to get to you, think of the reasons why you’re putting yourself through four years of mental and physical suffering. You’ve been training for the day you open the email with those long lusted-after words since second-grade Kumon: “Congratulations, Miserable High-Schooler [insert your name]. You have been accepted into A 10-Year Binding Contract for Student Loans stemming from [Insert Ivy League university].”

Just think, with that acceptance letter, maybe one day you’ll even become a bumper sticker on your mom’s car—such emotional validation! You might even finally achieve the position of “vessel for bragging” that your parents created you to be. (Because remember, your parents don’t really love YOU; they love how your academic success will reflect on THEM.

It is true that crafting the perfect college application is no simple task, and it will take all of your time and effort until you get that acceptance letter. Still, if it’s any consolation, you don’t actually have to be perfect—you only have to act and appear perfect to everyone around you!

No matter what, keep your mind on that end result, and you’ll really have a shot. (You know you want to impress everyone on the EHS college decisions Instagram, don’t deny it.) Yes, this task will take a phenomenal toll on your mental state, but that toll will show your dedication to your dream school, which is your number one priority.

One final point you must have on your application: be genuine! Colleges want REAL people—because, of course, real people are capable of being top students/sports stars, acing standardized tests and advanced classes, participating in a plethora of clubs and being overall star members of the community! So keep your eyes on the prize—if you can hold them open long enough—and remember to enjoy the process of applying for college!


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