This post from Cal Newport shares a simple but powerful way to stand out while still enjoying your life: Do less. Do better. Know why.
For high school students, that philosophy in practice looks like this. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you’re just busy being busy. Instead, quit activities that you don’t enjoy and focus on a few things that really matter to you. Use that newfound focus to make an impact. And most importantly, don’t do these things because you think it will get you into an Ivy League School. Do them because you’re a smart, curious, motivated kid who wouldn’t want to be any other way.