Not many student applicants to college know what to write when it comes to doing their college admission essay. Yes, the Common Application offers prompts to get you started, but they are wide-open, and many students wonder how to approach them.
Also, because of the stress of knowing there is a lot of competition to get into college, many applicants think they have to impress. They also think impressing means writing about big events that make big statements.
We suggest just the opposite.
You do not need to write about big accomplishments, wonderful trips, grand insights, or overcoming huge problems. Often the best fodder for college essays are the small things that are cleverly recounted to, in the end, illustrate a truism about you. What makes you tick, and what in your everyday life illustrates this?
For example, are you a believer in hard work and suspicious of things that come too easily? Write about the first “A” you received in your hardest high school course and how it seemed incredible you earned it even after studying hard. Then explain how meaningful the “A” was for you.
Do you feel everyone should contribute to a class or community or family you are in? Write about how you have helped with your younger brother around the house or how you volunteered to help clean up after the school dance. You might detail how much trouble your younger brother gives you or how messy the floors of the gym were but also about how much you felt a part of the family or the school after helping out.
You might write about a funny, frustrating trip you made to the sporting goods store to pick out the right pair of sneakers for tennis to illustrate no matter the choice, the process of choosing and weighing the choices was what the real important part of the shopping trip was. This can illustrate you are a circumspect person.
You might write about the disappointment of not going to the first big school dance and all the self- doubt that goes with it. However, you might reveal you learned to switch gears and play cards with a next-door-neighbor for more fun than you expected. This could show that you found out real self-esteem comes from making do on your own, not from popularity.
When it comes to personal college admission essays, make the little things in your life come to life in interesting ways to illustrate your core beliefs, traits, or aspirations.