How to Make Your College Application Stand Out by Highlighting Multiple Interests

July 31, 2023
College Admissions

Let’s say you are a student who wants to major in a STEM subject in college. Your favorite subjects are math and science, but you also love participating in your school’s drama club and volunteering for political campaigns in your free time. Seems all over the map, right? How will you ever be able to recount your interdisciplinary interests on your college application? Here’s the truth: Colleges LOVE multifaceted students and, in particular, multifaceted students who are able to present their many interests in a positive and constructive manner.

What Does it Mean to Be Multifaceted?

Being “multifaceted” means that your interests lie in multiple categories rather than just one. For example, you can be a student who wants to pursue economics and business in college, but most of your extracurricular activities relate to the arts. Or you could be a student who thrives in AP Biology and AP Calculus, but you really would like to study Spanish and anthropology in college. Don’t feel pressured into having to define your interests in a tiny, neat box. Colleges look for students who are open-minded and willing to challenge their preconceived ideas. Remember, most seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their lives. If they do have some vague idea or even if they are sure they have it figured out, it is likely to change over time. Colleges know this, and that is why there is nothing wrong with having multiple interests and a diverse background. In fact, it’s an advantage!

Being Multifaceted Makes Your Application Stand Out

Diversity can make you stand out from the crowd. Think of how many applications colleges see to engineering programs from students who have perfect STEM subject scores, high SAT/ACT math scores, and an extracurricular activity list full of STEM-related clubs and activities. Boring, right!? If you have something on your application that jumps out and screams “I am different!” schools will certainly give your application a second look.

How Can I Best Display My Interests?

The best place to highlight your varied interests is in your Common Application personal statement, but, you need to do it carefully. You don’t want your personal statement to read like an extension of your activity list that jumps from one divergent interest to another. Instead, think of your narrative. A narrative is your grand theme – essentially, what makes you who you are and informs the reader of how you see yourself. Why are you interested in STEM? Why are you also interested in theater? Maybe it’s because you like the contrast of the worlds – one that relies on hard data and the other that allows the imagination to fly. There are many possibilities here, but they all require some deep thought and reflection. Your AtomicMind writing coach will help you build your narrative and make the necessary connections that will best display your varied interests.

The Bottom Line

Colleges look for students who add value to their campuses. Multifaceted students tend to be the ones who are engaged in all of their classes (not just their majors), are involved in extracurricular activities, and enrich campus life by making it a more social and fun place to be. On top of that, students with differing interests are more likely to become leaders in the long term. The CEO of a tech company needs to be able to deal with many different issues, all of which may not be tech-related. A successful politician understands the impact of science and technology on society and not just political theories. A prolific writer who understands psychology is able to sell more books because they recognize what attracts readers in their subconscious.

Those who are multifaceted with an array interests have a big leg up on the competition. So be sure to show colleges and universities that you are prepared to excel in a variety of ways that bring value in all facets of college life and beyond. Our AtomicMind advisors are here to guide you through your high school years and give you the best opportunity to be accepted into your dream school.