Every human being is unique in their own way. It is impossible to say that two human beings are the same as each shows personal character traits that simply cannot be replicated. When these core aspects are translated into real life scenarios, each individual travels their own path because of these traits. So when a student asks, “What should I write my essay about?” there is no direct answer that can be given.
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What is a college essay supposed to be about?
When college admission officers read the enormous amounts of essays sent to them daily, they start to categorize the work. The first group is the mediocre texts sent in by below average students. This work usually contains grammatical mistakes and lacks strong vocabulary; Overall, the main point of their essay is rather dull or too average, giving it little to no appeal. The second and largest group is the average joes.
These are the majority of college essay writers and the “issue” with their writing is not anything related to structure or grammatical issues. Considering the fact that admission officers read hundreds of these entrance essays everyday, the content tends to get saturated. In other words, the writing is pretty strong and the story is somewhat intriguing, but its overall redundancy is what takes away from the appeal. The third and smallest group is the one that can be categorized as the most memorable. This group offers flawless grammar and sharp vocabulary, as well as a narrative that naturally attracts interest. If a student were to have submit one of these golden essays with average academic achievements, their chances of getting into a prestigious university greatly increase! So what do they put in their essays that make them stand out? Well, one aspect stands out more than any other.
When a student asks “What should I write my college essay on?”, the best way to begin is by putting ideas on paper. Looking at college essay prompts, there are about 3 questions which seem to be constantly repeated.
- What great challenge(s) have you faced and how did you overcome them?
- What hidden talent or trait do you possess that makes you special?
- Describe a significant event in which your role played a part and made a considerable difference. What was the event and how did you perform?
A trend can be noticed by looking at the college essay prompts. All 3 questions are different in their own right, but the general idea is this: What is about you, that makes you worth investing into? What have you shown about yourself that makes you shine from the rest of the crowd?
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I remember when I needed to write my college essay and I honestly did not know where to start my literary train of thought. Then, I started reading college admission essay samples on various websites, and I noticed that the highlighted examples all contained some similarities. The key factor that bluntly stood out was this “show rather than tell” concept. Although it may not seem so significant when looking at it straight in the face, there is a very distinct difference between those 2 verbs. Anybody can talk the talk, but very few actually walk the walk.
Putting it into a real word application, consider it like this. Would you rather read an application where a student mentions that they are a hard worker and knows how to lead a group or one where the student explains how he did not sleep for three nights straight to finish a large group project? I thought so. Any student can write traits that make them seem special, but not everyone has cold hard proof of those abilities in action.
The best piece of advice that can be given about college admission essay writing is this: show exactly what you have done and what impact came from your actions. Present yourself as the key that can open many doors, and when an admission officer sees this translate towards real world opportunities, their interest and excitement over your work greatly increases.