3 Great Ways to Showcase Your Strengths on College Applications!

By Elizabeth LaScala, PhD

Gone are the days when you had to rely solely on great essays and interviews to showcase your many talents and strengths! Colleges are making it easier for students to share live links to their Web sites, artistic portfolios, blogs, YouTube videos, and LinkedIn profiles to enhance their chances for admission. Read on for the scoop on the Universal College Application, Coalition Application, and the most popular and frequently used Common Application.

The Universal College Application (UCA) offers the opportunity to make links to anything that students have created online that they want to share with schools they are sending an application. Another advantage is you can auto-save your work, edit an essay that you already submitted and add new links anytime during the admissions process. However, some students might find it more convenient to apply to every school on their list from the same application platform, and UCA is used by only 23 colleges nationwide, a definite disadvantage.

The Coalition Application is the newest college admissions platform, and is currently being used by about 130 schools. Unlike the Common Application and the UCA, students may open an account as early as their freshman year and build a “locker” of videos, audio presentations and pictures that can later be transferred to their college applications. Most Coalition colleges also allow students to upload a personal statement, including live links and pictures, within their essays. However, students must be careful when they give access to their locker to college admissions officers to showcase their very best work. It is probably not wise to share each and every upload or link made since the ninth grade. Just as with essays, a student tells a clearer story by highlighting particular themes, passions and talents than by showing a laundry list of links and samples.

The Common Application by far remains the most popular way to apply to colleges, and it is currently used by over 700 schools nationwide, and 55 international schools, Only 45 of these member colleges give students an opportunity to enter and share live links, and most of these require students to use ZeeMee. ZeeMee is a free portfolio builder that enables you to make a Web page to post links as well as upload work samples.

Recently, The Common Application added a new feature that permits students to showcase their work in more flexible ways. Learn more about key updates that can help you strengthen your profile using The Common Application, the most popular application platform available today, along with other new features to help students use every part of an application to their best advantage.

No matter the platform you use for admissions, never share anything that you would not share proudly with your parents. Remember, college-bound students are evaluated both on their choice as well as quality of links, videos and other showcases.
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