Even if you are not applying to high school, you probably will apply to college; if not to college, then to a job. You will need this skill regardless of your future plans.
You’re an admissions officer. Your job is to go through piles and piles of student applications, comparing scores, grades, recommendations and essays… You don’t know the people writing in; you have only a few sheets of paper to determine whether they “fit.”
It can feel impossible to describe your own unique achievements and dreams, painting a compelling picture of yourself in 150 to 250 words. The fact of the matter is that you are more than an application essay and you cannot express what makes you uniquely you, even in 1500 to 2500 words Here’s what you can do, though: You can stand out from the stack by identifying something truly unique about yourself and writing about it in an interesting, genuine way.
Take a few minutes to fill out the “Uniquely You” questionnaire
“What stands out?” Make a list of 3 things that are unique about you.
Of your 3 unique qualities, describe an important MOMENT in your past experience that contributed to this quality. Alternatively, describe a moment this quality will lead to. What do you feel? See? Hear? Smell? Taste?
Working with a different partner than before, read a sample application essay together. When you’re finished, put yourself back in that admissions officer skin and rate the essay on the following qualities: 1. Organization and focus 2. Originality 3. Writer’s Voice 4. Freedom from error 5. Overall success
Unique characteristic they were trying to show: How they showed it:
Your observations? Let’s hear some tips from the Dean of Admissions from Connecticut College: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/tip- sheet-essay/ http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/tip- sheet-essay/
A sample prompt: Which people, places or experiences have had the most significant impact on your character and view of the world?
Where do you see yourself ten years from now? How have your acquired experiences shaped your aspirations for the future? Describe a moment when you faced adversity. What was your response and the ultimate outcome? If you could pick an event in history to witness, what would it be and why? Whom do you admire the most (living, deceased, historical, fictional), and why?
For each of these prompts, it is important that you consider how you are going to show your unique quality in a creative way. For example: If you want to show that you have a passion for drama, describe how you felt the moment when you didn’t get the part that you wanted and describe what new skills you learned anyway. If you love science, talk about why you’d like to meet Albert Einstein and describe what that would be like as if you were there If you have an interesting family background, go back in history to when your parents decided to move to the U.S. and imagine what that must have been like.
Adding in personal anecdotes highlights your unique quality, keeps that admissions officer interested, and allows him or her to get to know you!