The New York Times recently ran an excellent article "Making a Hard-Life Story Open a Door to College." about a workshop to help disadvantaged youth attend college. Specifically the article focused on writing college personal statements, but the advice offered in the article applied to all admissions. In a nutshell:
- Dig deep to get to your aspirations, motivations, fears, and goals. Don’t write the pablum you think someone wants to read.
- Write in your voice (while following the rules of good grammar and not sounding like you are sending an IM.)
Note that Antoine, the applicant in article, did not transform his essay into a pity essay or into some general philosophical statement. He provides enough specifics and details so that his motivation and fears are real. We can relate to his reality and his emotion. It’s that same combination of analysis, detail, and authenticity that will make your essay stand out.
For more detailed advice on finding your voice, please see Don’t Let Writing The College Application Essay Drive You And Your Family Crazy. It’s our Featured Ebook of the Month and 20% off in August.