Standing Out in a Crowd
It’s that time of year where many high school seniors and even some juniors start panicking because they’re applying to colleges and must try to figure out how to avoid sounding like the thousands of other applicants on those college application essays. How on earth are you going to stand out in that crowd?!?!?
It’s quite simple…remember, you have a story to tell. You may not think you do, but I promise, even if you never go outside and only play video games (when not doing your schoolwork, of course), you have a story to tell. The great thing about college application essays is they’re not meant to be an academic essay where you have to worry about having five sentences for the body paragraphs—although, you absolutely do still want to pay attention to good writing skills.
Here are some basic tips:
- Write about something important to you: summer camp, death of a friend/family member/famous person, the best book or movie you ever saw, a person you really admire (even if it’s someone famous), a hard decision you had to make, a unique decision you made such as deciding to attend an online high school;
- Don’t tell; show: rather than just telling who the person/event is and how they impacted you, turn it into a story. This application is your first impression on the admissions’ personnel. You want to be as descriptive as you can.
- No repeats: don’t repeat any of the details or information you had to include on the application form. You don’t need to list your various accomplishments and clubs in the essay (unless it’s part of the actual story) because that’s already part of the application process. This is your chance to showcase how unique you really are.
- Get other eyes on your essay: have your friends, parents, next door neighbor, boss to read your essay. Even better, ask your English teacher!
The most important and best piece of advice for writing that application essay…just be you. Don’t try to write something you think the colleges want to hear. That never works and probably won’t be read past the first paragraph. Let your voice shine through and you’ll tower above the rest of the people in that crowd.