From applications to resumes, financial aid forms, and more – applying for college requires you to share a lot about yourself. All of these things show your grades, accomplishments, awards, activities, community involvement, and financial status but in reality, they don’t show an admissions officer who you really are. But, that’s the beauty of college essays!
It’s a time and space where you get to tell YOUR story. What makes you the unique, special, and awesome individual that you are.
There’s a lot of advice out there about college essays – how they should be structured, what you should talk about, the language that you should use. While all of this is important and should be considered, we believe that the secret to exceptional college essays comes down to a simple idea:
Tell YOUR story.
No matter what the prompt is. No matter what you think someone wants to read. No matter what situation you’re writing about. Make sure it’s from YOUR perspective, how it’s affected YOU, and what YOU learned.
Don’t Write What You Think Others Want to Read in Your College Essays
Over the years of helping prospective college students apply and create essays, we have found that so many times students write what they think other people want to hear when in reality, an admissions officer just wants to get to know you. They don’t have the ability to sit down, face-to-face with every single applicant, so this is the replacement. An essay is your chance to “sit down” with an admissions officer, talk about who you are, the experiences that have shaped you and why those things make you a great fit for their college or university.
How Do I Tell My Story?
When looking over prompts that are given to you, first stop and think through the past experiences, dreams, or goals you’ll be addressing and ask yourself these questions:
How are YOU affected, then and now?
Are YOU different now?
Did YOU learn something?
What has changed in YOU?
Showing Why You Belong at a College or University
Telling your story isn’t just for someone to get to know you though. In the college admissions process, it’s to show why you belong and why you’re the right choice for a university.
It’s all about telling your story like….
Why you are the right fit.
How you fit into the culture of that particular college or university.
Why you are special and how that makes you a great fit.
What College Essays Can Show an Admissions Officer that Resumes Can’t
While college resumes are crucial (we talk about them all the time), they don’t show all of who you are. They show what you’ve done and how well you’ve done it to a degree, but they don’t show the entire picture. With great college essays, you can show your:
Just to name a few things. College essays demonstrate all of this and are an opportunity to help the admissions officer or college understand how you have evolved, grown, show who you are and why a college should want to admit you.
It’s All in the Steps
We’ve shared the secret to an exceptional college essay, so it’s only right that we also share the steps to help you get there. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series next week, where we’ll break down the 10 steps to a winning college resume. Have questions in the meantime? Just shoot us a message or schedule a free consultation to get help with your college essays!