College application essays require thought, brainstorming, writing, editing, revising, editing again, revising again . . . you get the picture. The personal statement is not an endeavor to be undertaken while enjoying an Italian soda at the club or getting a pedi at your favorite salon. It is not the case of simply stringing words together to an appropriate length. The college essay should tell a story about the writer. It should touch upon the essence of the writer, so much so that the reader (i.e., the admissions officer) will want to know more.
So what to write about? What not to write about? For guidance, I defer to Frank Bruni's article entitled “Naked Confessions of the College-Bound” published in the New York Times on June 14, 2014. Bruni sets forth several examples of college applicants describing completely unsuitable things in their admission essays, all with the intent of differentiating themselves from the thousands of other applicants. Bruni relates the essay of one student who wrote about urinating on herself while conversing with her teacher, as her commitment to learning would not allow her to excuse herself to take care of basic bodily functions. Inappropriate! Bruni goes on to describe other essay topics, which in good taste, will not be recounted in this blog. However, the overall theme of his article is that college applicants are displaying “runaway candor and uncensored revelation.” Basically, applicants are over sharing.
Finding a suitable topic for an essay (please, no mission trips to Costa Rica or lessons learned on the athletic field) requires work. A student must sift through 17 years of experiences for a single a moment in time upon which to write about. An original moment which will reveal something interesting about the applicant. A moment in time in which the applicant can sound both brilliant and modest. Then from this moment, a student is expected craft a narrative which will leave the admissions officer exclaiming, “This is a student we must have on campus!” In a mere 650 words! This is certainly no easy task. And not to be accomplished by the faint of heart.
But you are not alone in your summer endeavor. Mears College Consulting LLC is here to help. Call or email today for a no cost initial consultation.