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Trying to Write a Unique College Essay

So, you’re trying to express your uniqueness in your college essay, but you think you have none. You’re not the best athlete in the region.  You haven’t started your own charity. Frankly, you have never had to overcome any significant life obstacles.  So, what do you write about that does not sound like millions of teens could write the same exact thing in 500 words? Alas, there’s hope, but first, put the pen and paper, err, keyboard away.  It’s time for some introspection.

In helping students identify what to write about, I ask them to answer the following question, “What have you done that you are truly proud of”?  Your answer is not limited to something school related, but here are a few ground rules before you answer:

  • Your answer can’t be vague, so an answer like “I’m proud of my grades” won’t really help you
  • Be very, very specific.  You’re 17 or 18 years old, no one is really expecting you to have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro or have won a Nobel Prize.  Sometimes, however, a small but significant anecdote about your life can reveal a lot about you. Think about a time when you did something nice for someone else or a time when we stretched yourself beyond your comfort zone.
  • SHOW, DON’T TELL – don’t tell me that you’re hardworking…SHOW me.  Tell me a vivid story, it will make a much more lasting impact on your reader and it will make your story more convincing.

Click the link below read some clips from real college essays that will illustrate these points and demonstrate what does or does not work to engage and interest your readers and show them the best of what you have to offer!  Read how people make stories about spending time with family, working as a supermarket cashier and just plain old working hard in the classroom interesting and engaging.

Article written by College App Wizard

College App Wizard
Lynell's 20 years of experience as a college counselor, consultant to The College Board, an Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Financial Aid have given her a unique insider's perspective to the college application process. She has helped countless students and parents navigate the path to college. She also volunteers her time with several non profit organizations to help low income students go to college.

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