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What Looks Good On College Applications? How Travel Can Make You Stand Out – Road Less Traveled

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On the surface, there might not seem to be much connection between embarking on an ambitious trip across the country or even abroad, and what looks good on college applications. Surely, being a diligent straight A student is more likely to help your teen stand out than the fact that they spent their summer in Alaska, the Galapagos, or Mallorca… or is it? 

At The Road Less Traveled, we don’t seek to argue that your teen having traveled internationally will count for more in the eyes of leading colleges than excellent grades. That question is, of course, greatly subjective. Plus, we can’t pretend to know the exact selection criteria and priorities of every leading school out there. 

However, what is evident is that teens today face considerable competition for places at the most prestigious and sought-after colleges. Your child faring well academically will certainly greatly help their college application, but they will also be competing against many other young people with excellent grades. So how can their college application stand out? Immersive and Meaningful Teen Travel Programs! 

So, let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which embarking on a travel program with The Road Less Traveled really could help play a significant role in shaping a compelling college application for your teen.

It shows that your teen is committed to broader service.

It is one thing for a young person to have achieved impressive grades. But what about the teen who has achieved impressive grades, and has already dedicated themselves to becoming an outstanding global citizen, of service to others? When college admission officers see that your child has taken on a US or global immersion program with The Road Less Traveled, that is what they will see. 

Our summer travel programs are not “vacations”, or mere opportunities to “see the sights” in potentially far-flung parts of the world. That’s because they provide participating teens with invaluable, potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for community service, helping others and contributing to something far bigger than themselves.

It indicates your child’s maturity and independence 

College admissions officers seek students who have shown personal growth and maturity during their high school years. Participating in a teen travel program provides an opportunity for teenagers to step outside of their comfort zones and navigate unfamiliar territories. By immersing themselves in new cultures, interacting with diverse communities, and handling real-world challenges away from parents and guardians, students demonstrate their ability to adapt and thrive in different environments. This kind of independence and maturity is needed at leading schools, and highly appealing to college admissions committees.

It demonstrates your teen has a global perspective

In an increasingly interconnected world, colleges and universities actively seek students with a global mindset. Teen travel programs expose participants to unique perspectives, fostering cultural sensitivity and a broader understanding of global issues. Through firsthand experiences, students develop empathy and open-mindedness, which are essential traits for future leaders and contributors to society. Demonstrating such a perspective can make a compelling case for college admissions, as institutions strive to build diverse and inclusive student bodies.

It provides teens with unique experiences and interests

Participating in an RLT travel program enables students to showcase unique and genuine experiences that interest them and distinguish them from other applicants. Whether it's volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, conducting research on marine life in Belize, or exploring the ancient ruins of the Acropolis, these experiences create memorable narratives that captivate admissions officers.

Teens can share their real life leadership and teamwork skills

Our travel programs incorporate leadership opportunities and teamwork experiences. Students may be tasked with organizing group activities, making decisions, and collaborating with peers from different backgrounds. Such experiences foster leadership skills, effective communication, and teamwork abilities – all of which are highly attractive qualities for college admissions officers.

It allows your teen to develop their academic and career interests

Our teen travel programs often focus on specific themes, such as language immersion, environmental conservation, or marine science. By choosing a program that aligns with their academic or career interests, students can showcase their passion and dedication to their chosen field of study. This alignment reinforces their commitment to learning and highlights their potential contributions to the college community.


Participating in a teen travel program can be a transformative experience, providing students with invaluable life skills and broadening their horizons. From developing independence and global perspectives to showcasing unique experiences and passions, these programs offer a myriad of benefits that can significantly enhance college applications. As students continue to seek meaningful ways to enrich their college applications, the power of teen travel programs should not be underestimated. Embracing the world with an adventurous spirit can lead to not only an unforgettable journey but also a stepping stone to a bright and meaningful academic future.

For more information visit our website: https://www.theroadlesstraveled.com/



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