Compiling Your Human Highlight Reel: Strategic Application Writing

Applications aren’t just pieces of paper.

They aren’t forms to be filled out either.

They are a snapshot in time of you with several moving parts. Think of your application as a highlight reel on SportsCenter. Which segment do you want to be in — the “Top 10” or the “Not Top 10“?

Those highlight reels just don’t materialize on their own. Each component of the reel is carefully selected and scrutinized, studied from multiple camera angles, meticulously edited, flipped around back and forth into several different orders until the most captivating arrangement is reached. This is exactly the kind of approach you should take to creating your applications.

Each component—your resume, your personal statement, additional essays, diversity statement—is a moving piece that needs to be carefully organized and arranged with respect to the others in order to present the most compelling version of yourself possible. You need to articulate a coherent narrative about who you are and why you are right for the school(s) to which you are applying. Furthermore, each of those individual components needs to be carefully planned, constructed, edited, fine-tuned, and then carefully planned, constructed, edited, and fine-tuned yet again. Think of the InGenius team as your professional video editor to help you put everything together in the best light.

Now, step back for a moment.

Think of where those highlights on SportsCenter are coming from: athletes who have dedicated their lives to cultivating their natural talent from a very young age to get them to this very moment where they can showcase their skills at their best. The important lesson here is that, even if you put together every component of your application as best as possible, you can’t create highlights without putting in the work beforehand to get yourself in the position to succeed. This is why building your candidacy in the years before you even begin your application is incredibly important. It’s your training, it’s your Preparation, your credentialing. It’s what helps you build that application persona. It’s what gets you to the big leagues. Think of the InGenius team as your coach guiding you through the years of Preparation to get you to that moment that you’ve always dreamed of.

About the Author


David Mainiero, Co-Founder and Director of Operations of InGenius Prep, is an experienced educator and academic and admissions counselor with over almost a decade of experience helping students unlock their potential and achieve their dreams. Having founded and run multiple and small businesses, David has a strong entrepreneurial track record.

He graduated from Dartmouth College Summa Cum Laude with Highest Honors in History with a focus on Nationalism in the Near East and was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Several years later, he earned a JD from Harvard Law School. To this day, he believes that the most important moments in his own education were learning with his peers during his time as a Policy Debater in high school and college.

David knows firsthand what success looks like and how to achieve it; his passion to help students discover their own passions and realize their fullest potential motivates him to travel all around the world to share his visions for educational access.