The Essay: The Hardest Part of the College Application

Most everyone chokes at writing the college essay. It does not fit the regular format of a high school essay, you think it should sell you but you don’t want to brag, and you think it has to be perfect and intellectual.

Wrong!
The college essay is just a letter about you to the College Admission Office.

No, it’s not in letter form, although it probably could be. But, it is a window into who you really are. You might be a great student and a go-getter, but what are the softer sides of you, the “what-I-do-at-home-or-with-friends” kind of thing.

Here are some suggestions for you to think about.
• Show your quirks and/or your personality traits. (Do you collect dinosaur models?)
• How does your personality fit with the campus or how does it show you as a person who might be fun to know? (Do you watch a certain Netflix show or love to ride horses?)
• Can you show a side of yourself that explains how you connect with other people? (Do you offer service to the community or do you love to joke with people?)
• If you are interested in science and math, are there hobbies you participate in that reveal this interest, such as tinkering in the garage or repairing computers.
• Can you show what’s behind all your achievements, like working back stage on a play or supporting a class president?

For example, one student wrote about doing the school announcements and what he liked about it and how he tried to fit information and feeling into that short time segment. Another student wrote about collecting Pez dispensers and how people reacted to her “nerdy” obsession.

This essay does not have to be a perfect essay, it does not have to prove you are a great writer, it does not have to sell you in the admission competition. Rather, it is an expression of the real you as a person who might be a real person on a college campus.

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