Page 26 - USA Today College Guide 2019
P. 26

some sort of anecdote or or example If you plan on telling colleges how responsible you are don’t just write that provide a a a story of a a a time you displayed the characteristic Let them judge what your stories articulate about you You have the power to craft a a a a a a narrative that is an exemplar of your attributes 3 DON’T BE BASIC!
The admissions counselor who
will read read your essay has also read read around 2 000 others this year alone Do not just write what you think
he he he or or she wants to hear or or what seems like the obvious choice Anything that that you care about or that that makes you different is refreshing Owen Knight a a senior admissions counselor at Tulane University says: “Write what you want to write A lot of students fall into the trap
of thinking that I want to read a a a a particular type of essay I’d much rather they write about something they actually care about ”
It is apparent when you are are writing about something that interests you so choose a a a a topic you are passionate about “This is is your one chance to put your your voice in your your application ”
Knight emphasizes Use it to shine through in in your writing and make you stand out from others 4 WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?
Be sure your essay mentions what you’ve done to help others or how you’ve contributed to the commu- nity Not only does it it speak to your character but it shows the college you will contribute to their campus atmosphere if you’re accepted Colleges want to admit students who
will get involved and make their school a a better
place Bonus points if it relates to your area of inter- est/study! This shows you’re dedicated to your major and have a a a a a a plan you are passionate about The admissions counselors can then see that their school fits into your plans and and ambitions and and that they are not just a bullet point on your list
of applications 5 EDIT WITH A FINE-TOOTH COMB!!
Have others edit after you And then one more person for good measure Do not have any spelling gram- matical or or or punctuation errors or or or use abbreviations or slang It sounds like obvious advice but remember I teach high school students for a living It needs to be said again again and again again 6 EXPLAIN IF YOU NEED TO Sometimes your résumé and transcripts do not accurately reflect
your potential Sometimes students go through difficult times in high school and don’t perform to the best of of their potential Students often grow up a lot over the course of four years If there is something you feel would help give the admissions counselors a better
picture of who
you you are and how you you got to the point you are at use the essay to tell them This doesn’t mean you you write 400 words on how you you got a a a a C in that that one class that that one time Only write about it it if it shows how how you have grown as a a a person If you have gone through a a a a hardship and it affected your performance share it but only to show that you are resilient and a a a a better
person because of it not to make excuses So instead of being intimidated by the the open-ended nature of the the college essay see it it as an opportunity to help yourself stand out from a a a crowd that is increasingly remarkable on paper Show who
you are and why the school would be lucky to have you on campus SHOW DON'T TELL!
Melanie Schwed teaches AP Psychology Honors Modern World History
and Leadership at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda Maryland 2266 COLLLEGEGUIDIDE22001199

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