Note: I don’t recommend a stream-of-consciousness free-write because this tends to get a little messy. By “messy” I mean that this tends to bring forth a lot of words but not a lot of specific, bullet-pointable qualities that will help you get into college.

And that’s the point of this list: to provide your counselor (or yourself) with a solid list of qualities, values and cool stuff that will help get you into college.

Reason #1 that this list is a good idea: It generates a list of details and possible topics for your personal statement, supplements, activities list and additional info section.

Tips for creating a great list:

  • Have fun. This doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s you basically making a list of everything that’s awesome about who you are and what you’ve done, which can be pretty darn affirming.

  • Create the list with a parent or friend. Say to him/her: “Hey, I’m trying to make a list of all the reasons why any college should love me as much as you do—can you help?”

  • Back up general stuff with specific examples. If, for instance, you’re like, “I can motivate people!” or “I stick with things I’m passionate about!” provide a specific example that backs up your claim–or better yet, both claims! (Like the fact that you helped raise debate membership from 19 to 96 at your school over four years.)

Step 2: Once you’ve created your list:

  • If it’s a bullet-pointed list, upload it to a Google doc and…

  • If it’s a drawing or timeline, take a photo of it, email it to yourself, upload it to Google a doc and…

SHARE the Google doc with your friend/parent/counselor (whoever is helping you with your applications and ask that person: “Can you help me make sure that all this stuff makes it into my application?”

Wait, can I do this once my application is almost finished?
Absolutely. In fact, this will provide a checklist for making sure all the important parts of you are represented somewhere in the application.