College applications can quickly get tedious; however, there is one part that people dread that I don’t think they should - the personal statement/essay questions. Sure, they may be time consuming, but this is where you actually get to distinguish yourself from your peers. Here are three brief tips on how to ace those essays and put yourself in the best light!
Tip 1: Don’t try to be pretentious with your wording or grammar. Everyone writes in their own voice, so do not try to write in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise. Any educated reader will be able to tell when you are writing in a voice that is not your own; it comes off as disingenuous. If your natural writing style does include an expanded vocabulary and a more erudite - see what I did there - way of writing, then do it! That may be what sets you apart! However, forcing yourself to write like that will result in your writing lacking genuineness, and a lot of readers are looking for that in your essays. That’s not an excuse to use slang, misspell words, or have terrible grammar however! As long as you write in your own voice and follow the general rules of writing, you’re well on your way!
Tip 2: Don’t just write an answer to a question just because you’re tired and want to get it over with. That won’t increase your chances of getting in, and is like throwing away the money you’re spending on the application. If the essay is prompted with a number of questions you can choose from, think about each one, and determine which question you have the most life experience to answer, including what kind of life experience is most likely to be more moving and powerful. I highly recommend brainstorming some ideas and taking your time to refine your story; make it understandable, comprehensive, representative of yourself, and entertaining! You can always choose the mood of your essays: happy, solemn, lighthearted, whatever you want. It is your story. Just make sure the mood of your essay is appropriate to the question being asked!
Tip 3: There is a lot of pressure placed on these essays, because people view them as how you actually get accepted. While there is some truth to this, that’s not all there is. You are not defined by what college you get into, how well your essay is written, or even your extracurriculars and grades. These essays are just a way for the school to get to know you better. You’ve presented yourself in your best light, and if you don’t get in, you’re not worth any less than you were before being rejected, and those who got accepted aren’t worth any more than anybody else. God just wants you somewhere else. That was my experience, and now I am so so happy that I got rejected elsewhere, so I could be at Biola, where God wants me!
I pray these were helpful to at least some of you!
With all brotherly love,