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College application essay on a significant experience

10 Steps to Writing a College Essay That Gets Noticed

Admissions truly wants to know what distinguishes you from the competition, but who wants to read words of someone tooting his or her own horn? Talking about yourself requires a fine balance between humility and horn tooting. Over the course of my 12 years of essay advising, I have worked with teenagers of all styles and comfort levels when it comes to presenting their talents and achievements. But it is absolutely possible to land in that sweet spot between overly humble and obnoxiously self-congratulatory.

Here are some tips for displaying your landmark successes and defining these moments with grace and without the risk of leaving a sour taste in the mouth of an admissions officer. Describe your actions and let your accomplishments speak for themselves. It reveals an understanding of the event or activity in question and can reveal thoughtful details about your involvement.

Are you a Model United Nations champion?

Oberlin College Admission Essay Sample on A Significant Experience

Describing the process of preparing for a tournament—your methodical preparation and bizarre-but-hilarious pre-competition rituals, for example—will allow admissions to grasp your level of investment in the activity, your sense of pride in your mastery of a subject, even your sense of humor. Revealing the process behind your passions can even show an admissions officer why you are so good at what you do. Admissions officers are insightful. Describe your actions and let admissions infer their value.

Oberlin College Admission Essay Sample on A Significant Experience

Instead, detail your motivations. These activity inventories are sure to appear elsewhere on your application like in the Activities section of the Common or Coalition applications. Why do you wake up at 4 a.

The Tricky Secret to Successful College Essays

What drives you, and how do you apply that motivation to your interests and goals? That is what admissions wants to know. Do you feel lucky to have organized a book drive that has given underserved members of your community access to some of your favorite novels?

  1. These women are nothing out of the ordinary. Up until the time I read the book, I had the impression that wolfs where among the meanest creatures on the planet.
  2. Be prepared to proofread and rewrite. It reveals an understanding of the event or activity in question and can reveal thoughtful details about your involvement.
  3. Explain how your reading of this book changed your outlook.
  4. Does the essay provide new insight?
  5. What do you want a college to know about you? Neighbors across the street, who had woken to the sound ofthe fire trucks, gave us chairs to sit in, sweaters and blankets.

Does debating the safety of long-term cell phone use on a Sunday afternoon make you nerdily giddy? Expressing gratitude is a surefire way to contextualize your standout moments and signal that you understand the importance, not just of your own actions, but of their relation to the bigger picture. There is a balance to be found in the presentation of your finest qualities and most impressive triumphs. Stacey Brook is a writer, admissions expert, and the founder and chief advisor of College Essay Advisorsan education company that offers online courses and in-person college essay advising to students around the world.

She has helped more than 1, students build lifelong writing skills while crafting compelling and effective admissions essays.