What Sets Me Apart From Other Applicants

June 28, 2016

The muddy college application process has made it difficult for even successful applicants, who have gained admissions, to figure out the reason they were accepted. We believe each applicant has something to offer, and we want to celebrate that. So, we dug through our database to find out what each applicant’s achievements, quirks, and differences are. Here are a few from Duke, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, UC Berkeley and Notre Dame:


Duke University ‘18

Between junior and senior year of college I did an internship at the Stanford Medical School through a program called SIMR. People often asked about that in interviews, since I am from the East Coast. The fact that I took the initiative to apply to several internships during the winter of my junior year seemed to resound well with admissions officers. Although yes, Stanford is “prestigious”, I think the fact that I made a concerted effort to seek out what I was interested in was the more important part.


Vanderbilt University ‘19

During the summer of 2014, I biked 3,200 miles from Charleston, SC to Santa Monica, CA. During my interviews with various schools, the interviewers could not get enough of me after finding out about my trip. They stopped asking questions about me and starting asking questions about what the trip was like, how tough it was, etc. They also all commented that they’d never heard of people doing it and the fact that I did it sets me apart from everyone else because it shows my dedication.


UC Berkeley ‘19

I believe that several activities in particular made me a more unique applicant: shooting an air rifle in NJROTC marksmanship, having an interest in foreign languages, and writing a whole novel in my spare time. So while I loved these things, they could not win me the private school admissions I so sought. Nevertheless—those things still bring a spark to my eye whenever I do them or think about doing them. I would recommend finding your own activities that made you feel that way, and writing about them.


University of Notre Dame ‘18

I rewrote the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song in my common app essay - if that wasn’t risky, I don’t know what is. I think it helped my application a ton, though. The admissions people probably enjoy a little laugh every now and then.




Georgetown University ‘19

My interest in ocean sustainability combined with a passion for business set me apart from other applicants as this combination is rarely seen. This, in combination with my international life experience and expertise in Chinese, proved to be a really good combination. Try to set yourself apart from others (as you’ve probably been told many times) by using things that may seem ordinary at first and then twisting them in a unique way.

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About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.


Browse Successful Application Files


Accepted to Georgetown, NYU, Barnard, Northeastern

Hi, I'm Shannon! I'm from San Jose, California, spent a gap year living and working in Leipzig, Germany, and now I go to college in Washington D.C. I've shared everything I can remember about the college application process with y'all! :)

Accepted to UGA, Emory, Georgetown, UVA, William & Mary, Macalester, Carleton

I'm an aspiring linguist and budding francophile who's left Georgia for Georgetown.
Notre Dame

Accepted to Notre Dame, BC, Northeastern, Binghamton, Fordham, NYU, Emory, Tulane, Northwestern, UMich, Wisconsin

Long Island girl living in a Midwestern world. Lover of pizza and bagels. Full-time Netflix watcher, part-time Management Consulting and Political Science double major at Notre Dame.

Accepted to Georgetown, GWU, Occidental, JHU, BC

Pre-med Math major at Georgetown University

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