” It will be much harder to remember “the girl who practiced the trapeze, and was also good at riding bikes, and who got an A on every test and who generally worked very hard,” or “the girl who really loved her late grandfather and who feels like she embodies a lot of his core characteristics.” Focus your story.
When you finish writing your first draft, do a branding test- try to label yourself based on your essay and see what you come up with.
For example, at The University of Tampa, the question, “How do you feel about the month of February?
” rarely results in a boring application essay and can go in numerous directions. Go out on a limb and take a stab at the question that helps you paint a unique and compelling self-portrait. “In 10th grade, I became a hooker.” Yes, this is the actual first line of an application essay we received a few years ago and something I never imagined I would see while reading an admissions essay. Immediately I was stunned trying to think of the events that must have lead up to this moment and how this student was going to swing this into a positive light. What I didn’t know at the time was that a “hooker” was actually the name of a position on a rugby team.
Your high school transcript contains at least three years of grades, showing evidence of hard work in a variety of subjects. Keep in mind essays are a major separating factor in sorting the mediocre students from those who have gone (and most likely will continue to go) above and beyond. I can’t even tell you how many wonderful application essays I’ve read about students’ mothers, fathers, brothers, grandmothers, neighbors, and even the ice cream truck driver being the most influential person in their lives. After reading them, I want to call the students up and encourage their grandmothers to apply! Don’t get me wrong, I love the essay prompts for many colleges, but some essay questions don’t exactly push for creativity or thinking outside of the box.
Your clubs, organizations, sports, community service, and other accomplishments reflect years of participation and dedication to fields outside the classroom. Let’s get started It’s time to pick your essay topic. But, after reading these enthralling stories about other people, I still know absolutely nothing about the student who wrote the essay. For example, “Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you ...” is the essay topic where I hear an awful lot about Grandma, and the “topic of your choice” prompt can go from interesting to ridiculous pretty quickly.You accomplish this self-branding by choosing a creative topic (or a creative twist on a common topic), and writing about it with enough detail to burn an image of yourself in the reader’s brain.When it comes down to you and another similarly qualified candidate, you want an admissions officer to be able to stand up with your application in his/her hand and say, “I like the girl who performed trapeze in the circus,” or “How about the girl who saved her grandfather’s life?Many students have a tendency to skew generic in the telling of their personal stories.What makes an essay memorable is often the sum of the little things.So many students want and expect themselves to produce pure, uninhibited brilliance the first time their fingers hit the keys, but that is almost never the way good essay writing works.Writing a compelling essay is a process, and the best writing can often be plucked from our stream-of-consciousness efforts.In fact, many schools have cool, offbeat essay questions that really provide you with the opportunity to present the admissions committee with new insight as to who you are. And if your dream school presents you with some of the old standards, remember to approach the subject from the most unique angle you can. The student went on about how he developed the strength and technique needed to be successful in the position and how that experience shaped him into the man he had become.Whether or not it was intentional, this student started his essay in a way that certainly caught the attention of the admissions committee, and that’s what your first sentences absolutely need to do.There is a sense of time and place- we can see the setting, smell the herbs.With a few extra words, sentence two tells us much more about your fishing experience.