What if all colleges were exactly the same, and everyone were guaranteed a spot in one as long as you graduated from high school? Whatever your GPA, whatever activities you did or didn't do, you'd get into the same college everybody else gets into.
What would you change about your life if none of this mattered for admission to college?
Your answers say a lot about you, your motivation, and just how many of your decisions are being driven by what you think colleges want you to do.
With the exception of preparing for and taking the SAT/ACT (which nobody likes to do), the most engaged students aren't spending their time trying to please colleges. They're taking difficult classes, studying and participating in activities because that's what they really want to be doing.
They have enough faith in themselves to know that their future isn't dependent on an admission to one particular dream school. They're living much of their high school lives as if none of this mattered for admission to college.
And they're standing out because of it.