Planning for College Standing Out from Others

Getting Noticed in High School Can Get You Into College

Written by CB Experts

Applying to colleges can be a very competitive process. The more people who have seen you, taken note of you, liked you during the course of your high school years, the more sources you have to draw on for positive recommendations. That will impress the college admissions officers where you are applying!

Below are some suggestions for you to win notice and favor from the staff of your high school. You will be surprised how little things or things you have never thought about will capture interest and praise.

Teachers Notice You Because:

The Obvious Reasons

  • You’re a good student.  Being a good student doesn’t always mean you get the best grades. It means that you make an effort, are on time, care about what you do in their class, and show an interest in the materials and class presentations
  • You sit up front so they can see you
  • You talk in their classes, answering questions, asking questions, and making contributions to discussions
  • You stay after class to clear up any problems or questions you have, extend a class discussion because of interest, or ask for more information
  • You have a positive attitude and wear a smile
  • You help other students in your class.  By helping others you also show you are capable of floating among a wide circle of friends
  • You offer assistance to the teacher, e.g., setting up science labs or shelving books in English class

The Other Reasons

  • Because you take the time to thank them for their work, their class, or their help. This can be a verbal thank you or a note/card
  • You offer to do something extra that will add to class, e.g., make a relevant presentation, create an easy recap, find more resources.
  • You show you are trying to be a better student, even if you are already a good student, e.g., you revise work, (and not just for a better grade), you check over wrong answers on quizzes or tests


  • Whine
  • Ask for favors
  • Be dishonest
  • Grub for grades.

Principals Notice You Because:

The Obvious Reasons

  • You are a star, either in academics, sports, or maybe in both
  • You take part in a lot of activities
  • You attend many school functions so you are seen
  • You show leadership by not blindly following your peers, by taking an independent stand

The Other Reasons

  • Because you actually make an effort to talk with him/them by making an appointment to offer praise of something good in your school or to offer a plan for improving something in your school
  • Because you do a school-wide project, either with a small group or by yourself, e.g., plant a garden at the school’s entrance; work with other students as a tutor; or create a website for teachers, about the discipline code, or for a “principal’s corner”
  • You are willing to volunteer for student committees.


  • Get into disciplinary trouble
  • Complain to the principal without a solution
  • Go to the principal about a problem without first going through the proper channels and trying to resolve the issue positively

Other High School Staff Members Will Notice You Because:

That’s right! Any staff member at your high school can have an impact on your reputation including janitors, hall monitor, kitchen workers, and security guards.

The Obvious Reasons

  • You learn their names.
  • You speak to them: say good morning, ask how they are, tell them about your classes

The Other Reasons

  • You recycle
  • You pick up an empty food tray left on a table
  • You show your hall passes without being asked and don’t loiter after the bell
  • You don’t bring prohibited items with you to school, unless cleared by the front office
  • You throw away your trash and anyone else’s that’s lying around inside and out of school
  • You compliment people on the job their doing or for being there for you


  • Ignore them as people
  • Treat them like your servants.

You may be thinking: “Duh!” but you would be surprised how nice little things you to in your interactions with all the people in your school reverberate. Before you know it the hall monitor mentions your name to a faculty member who mentions your name to a janitor who is talking to the principal and repeats your name, and–voila–you have a great reputation that will only serve to promote you in your quest to be admitted to a great college.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.