Whether you’re writing a college admissions letter or a scholarship essay, it’s important to highlight what you achieved in high school -- important, but also tricky. There is a fine line between bragging about yourself and selling yourself short. But if you walk this line correctly, you should be able to impress any committee with your accomplishments.
Being honest and forthright about the activities you were involved with is always best. Whatever you list on a resume or application should be something you are comfortable talking about to a stranger. This isn't the time to make up roles that you didn't actually serve in during school. Be resourceful about how you present your activities! Chances are that you’ve done something in high school that sets you apart from the rest -- think about what it might be, and then talk about it with pride and honesty.
Be resourceful about how you present your activities!
Speak Well of Your Success
Now is not the time to be bashful, self-deprecating or discreet. While you shouldn’t overstate your high-school accomplishments, you shouldn’t understate them either. It’s important to take ownership of what you’ve achieved and not diminish your own accomplishments.
If you’re having trouble speaking highly of yourself, imagine that you’re telling an admissions or scholarship committee about what your best friend accomplished in high school; you wouldn’t be afraid to show your pride in them. Treat yourself with the same respect by taking satisfaction in the results of your hard work.
Highlight What You're Proud Of
Committees aren’t always interested in reading lists of every activity you did in high school. Most often, it's best to pick out a few accomplishments that you’re most proud of, and focus on those. Committees are often looking for leadership and teamwork qualities, so if your accomplishments demonstrate those traits, be sure to list them first and if given the opportunity, explain how. When you’re trying to decide which accomplishments to focus on, ask yourself which ones were the most challenging and taught you more than other endeavors.
Most often, it's best to pick out a few accomplishments that you’re most proud of, and focus on those.
Relate to Future Goals
Your life doesn’t end when high school does, and all that you’ve achieved won’t go to waste. Explain to the committee how you plan to build on your accomplishments in the future. That doesn’t mean that you have to do the same activities in university that you did in high school. You just have to show how they will continue to shape you in the person you are becoming.
If, for instance, you were captain of the debate team, you may not want to join the debate team in university, but if you’re interested in law school, the practice will serve you well.
Committees will appreciate that you are looking to the future and have a vision for yourself.
Living in Canada, Andrew Aarons has been writing professionally since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ottawa, where he served as a writer and editor for the university newspaper. Aarons is also a certified computer-support technician.