Writing College Essay

Writing College Essay-24
Who are you outside the constraints that are placed upon you by school, parents, friends, and society?How do you demonstrate character in your own unique ways? Not quite—writing about one’s self is perhaps one of the greatest challenges in college admission, especially for the overachieving perfectionist.

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Reading the college essay topics for what seems to be the hundredth time, he searches in vain for an event, challenge, accomplishment, obstacle, interest or talent about which to write.

For a fleeting moment, he laments the absence of a personal tragedy to exploit while he sits with the cursor flashing—a pulsating symbol of perplexity.   Especially tormented are the perfectionists, you dutiful students who view the college essay as just one more roadblock to be overcome with sheer will.

The glow from the laptop reflects off his forehead as he stares at the screen, paralyzed by panicked perfectionism.

The Common Application essay prompts are neatly copied onto the blank document, taunting him with possibility.

Beware, you can write and rewrite your college essay to death with multiple editors providing feedback as you try to get it just right, but as musician Mike Morris says, “too good is no good.” Seasoned admission deans can quickly detect the unauthentic essay that has been scrubbed over, soon devoid of any personal voice.

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Young novelists, journalists, and published poets are all on similar footing with the typical English student when approaching the admission essay—it is not just about how you write but also how vulnerable you are willing to be.

The college essay is not a test to see if you can read minds or anticipate what the admission office wants to hear.

Plain and simple, they want to know about you, how well you write and how self-aware you are. Regardless of the topic about which you choose to write, be sure the essay reveals more about you than the other characters or places in the story.

Perfection—in college admission and in life—is often overvalued. What will distinguish your writing and your application is your unique voice.

Be willing to take risks, be vulnerable and share your truth.


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