In today’s highly competitive world, students need to do more than just perform well academically to secure admission to top-tier colleges and universities. Even high SAT scores and GPAs won’t guarantee admission to more competitive schools. One way to stand out from the crowd is by engaging in creative personal projects that demonstrate your unique talents, interests, and passions. Not only do they make your college application more impressive, but they also help you develop valuable skills and gain knowledge that can be useful in your future academic and professional endeavors. Here are some creative personal projects to consider taking up that can help you stand out on your college applications.
If you have a knack for engineering and innovation, inventing something new can be an excellent way to demonstrate your creativity and problem-solving skills. Your invention could be anything from a new gadget to improving efficiency in an existing machine—the possibilities are endless. You could even try to market your invention on social media and gather some attention from businesses.
Related: Great Colleges and Universities for Science and Engineering in the West
Speaking of businesses, starting your own business is another way to stand out on your college applications and demonstrate your entrepreneurial skills. The business could be anything from a small online store to a more substantial enterprise. You can even turn one of your hobbies into a profitable business; you could sell baked goods, jewelry, food, tutoring services, babysitting services, and more.
3. Creative writing
If you have a talent for writing, you can showcase your skills by engaging in creative writing projects. You could write a book, a collection of short stories or poetry, or even a screenplay. If you really want to push the envelope and get noticed, pursue options of getting published in a magazine or journal or through self-publishing. You could also create your own website to showcase your writing and include the link at the top of your résumé.
4. Visual art projects
If you’re a talented artist, there are many creative projects you can pursue to showcase your skills. You could create a portfolio of your artwork, design a clothing line, or even make a short film. And don’t forget to think outside the box. You could design a mural in your local school and involve students in your community, or design a website that also functions as an art piece. The sky is the limit!
Related: Unique Careers for Visual Arts Students
5. Community service
Community service opportunities are an excellent way to showcase your leadership and dedication to making a positive impact in your community. There are many areas for volunteering: local charities, fundraising campaigns for meaningful causes, community gardens, beach or park cleanups, clothing and canned goods drives, tutoring underprivileged kids, and more. Simply volunteering to connect with others is good, but to really stand out, you have to make a significant difference in your community by dedicating your time to a cause consistently.
6. Scientific research
If you have a passion for science, scientific research projects are an excellent way to demonstrate your knowledge and problem-solving skills. You could conduct your own experiments, participate in science fairs, or even publish your research in scientific journals. This looks really good if you’re interested in a career in any of the STEM fields.
Bonus tip: Set goals for yourself!
When deciding which activities to pursue, consider what you’re actually passionate about. These creative projects work better if you’re invested. Be sure to have a concrete and attainable goal to work toward. Write out your plans to attain it, and make sure you have the resources to accomplish it. Don't be afraid to ask for help from parents, teachers, peers, and friends. If possible, find a mentor who has experience in what you’re working on. They can offer insightful advice that can significantly help you achieve your goals.
Related: How to Master the Art of Setting and Refining Your Goals
These kinds of creative personal endeavors or "passion projects" really make students stand out on college applications. You’re showing that you have motivation, confidence, creativity, and the know-how to execute a wide-scale project. Your passion project could also influence your career and major choices in the future. In addition, you’ll learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of accomplishing.
Looking for other unique ways to make yourself shine to admission committees? Check out our comprehensive guide on How to Make Your College Applications Stand Out for more tips!