Most schools, both undergraduate and graduate, want to see how you will contribute to the growth of your classmates and enhance the school’s program. There will most likely be room in one of the essays you are asked to write to show the strengths, interests and experience you will bring with you and how you plan to use these traits in the school’s program and/or community.
For help writing about your envisioned contributions, fill in the blanks in these template sentences:
1. I have attained some recognition in [name of an activity], an activity that fosters [valuable skills and/or traits].
2. I developed my skill by [the experience, process or steps you followed].
3. As a consequence of exploring [activity or talent or experience you are talking about], I am prepared to bring the following ethics, skills and understanding to my peers and professors: [Name them].
4. I look forward to [Name what you will do at school that will allow you to share the skills and growth you experienced].
Now that you have found language for describing what you will bring to your class and the school, create one or two paragraphs about your strengths and the contributions you will make by using sentences one and two as the basis of one paragraph and sentences three and four as the basis for a second paragraph. In paragraph one, use specific detail to show the activity and how you have already developed your skills or contributed significantly. In paragraph two, be sure to look into the school catalog to find out what clubs and programs you would join in order to share the qualities and skills you have developed.
Although you might not have a lot of space to discuss the ways in which you will foster your classmates and your school’s program, you will have enough space to use specifics and allow the admissions committee to “see” who you are rather than have to guess from the tone of generalities and assertions that are not backed up. Showing is always better than telling for making yourself memorable to readers. You don’t want the admissions committee to shrug and dismiss your ability to contribute with a, “He says he’s kind and considerate. I guess that’s true.” Rather, you want the committee members to remember specifics about you, “He worked with the developmentally disabled through Easter Seals and demonstrated patience, commitment, and compassion. His goal of establishing a campus chapter of the organization will draw students from the education, pre-med and psychology departments. Sounds like he has something there.”
By Sheila Bender, author of Perfect Phrases for College Application Essays, a great book on writing college application essays. If you would like an Accepted.com editor to personally guide you as you write your application essay, please review our application essay editing services.