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The following are tips for these applicants in developing an authentic, impactful college essay: Don’t read the essay questions, read yourself.Most conformists will stifle their unique voice by attempting to respond to the specific prompts that the Common Application provides.
The best way to tell is to have your parents or a friend give a draft of your essay to a colleague or individual who has never met you.
Ask them to read the essay and then respond with three adjectives that describe you and a sentence that captures what they learned. If not, it is back to the drawing board.“Am I done?
” This is the perfectionist’s calling card in seeking validation that the essay is good enough.
Students often ask if they should work on another draft or if their essay is sufficiently polished.
Reading the college essay topics for what seems to be the hundredth time, he searches in vain for an event, challenge, accomplishment, obstacle, interest or talent about which to write.
For a fleeting moment, he laments the absence of a personal tragedy to exploit while he sits with the cursor flashing—a pulsating symbol of perplexity. Especially tormented are the perfectionists, you dutiful students who view the college essay as just one more roadblock to be overcome with sheer will.
His young mind races from topic to topic, each of which he dismisses immediately. His meaningful relationship with his deceased grandfather…overdone.
The first time he received a grade below an “A” on an English paper...trite.
It is a test to see if you can get out of your head and open your heart.
It is an exercise in exploring self—what makes you who you are, not who everyone thinks you should be.