In our College Essay Clichés to Avoid post, we advised students against writing about moving to America from a foreign country.
Too often, such essays are formulaic and uninspiring – after all, while it’s certainly a challenge to learn a new language and culture, millions of people do it every day, so it simply isn’t something that sets a student apart.
Favorites often work well: your favorite read/friend/place/theory/possession.
Ultimately, no matter what else you hear in the admissions process, ask yourself the simple questions: The comprehensive resource for navigating the job search, composing strong resumes and cover letters, performing at interviews, using Harvard’s Campus Interview Program, and profiles from alumni in different industries.
The key is to write for a purpose beyond self-expression, much like how you do all of your homework with the objective of getting a good grade. What will get you into college is writing an essay that will be distinguished from the rest. By the time someone is considering your essay, they have reviewed your grades, your scores, two teacher recommendations and a guidance report, and your activity list. Think outside of the box and say something different.
They know you in most ways that are relevant to admit you to a school. Don’t restate something in your resume and then just add “and everyone thanked me” at the end. Over 70 percent of students choose just three of the seven Common Application prompts (overcoming obstacles, discuss an accomplishment, topic of your choice). Choose one that focuses on a specific anecdote rather than the three asking for your whole life story.You should pick this option if you think that admissions will already get a heap about your personality (read: extracurriculars) from your teachers and activity list, but not enough about why you love learning (i.e., your grades and scores should have been better).Personality Statement: this essay is about anything what you want to study. It is a story, usually not derived from your extracurriculars (unless you have no other choice, which is not ideal, because they already know your activities), of a moment or experience that reflects who you are.His words somehow become my words, his memories become my memories.Despite the high speed of the bullet train, my mind is perfectly still – trapped between the narrative of the book and the narrative of my own life. I read the last page and close the book, staring out the window at the shining fish ponds and peaceful rice paddies.This essay is an example of how to tell the story of moving to America in a unique way.This student focused on a single question – where is home?Write a story with a setting, a beginning, a middle and an end.In drafting your essay, focus on the content of the narrative.Reading sample college essays gives you great ideas and helps to illustrate what is expected from a good college essay.Check out these college essay examples for inspiration!