How To Write A Successful College Essay

I brought flowers for the ambience but don’t think it’s like you go yo is my oh my god hello everyone welcome back to my channel it’s been a long time since I filmed a college application related video but good news since a new college application cycle is starting soon I thought now would be a perfect time to start doing those types of videos again please be sure to subscribe because I’m gonna be doing a lot more college application related videos in the near future so today I’m gonna be talking about what I think makes a great college application essay but before I even dive into that I wanted to talk about the kind of mindset you need to approach college applications with half of the battle is just starting what I mean by this is that coming up with an idea for your college application essay can be the most frustrating part of the process but having the right mindset guiding you is extremely important so you might be thinking what do you mean by mindset when you go into your college application essays be confident in yourself I know that when I was applying for colleges I did not feel really proud of my accomplishments even though I did do a lot in high school in hindsight I do think that I was very capable and that I had nothing to worry about go into the process feeling accomplished in what you did do and not dwelling on what you didn’t do admissions officers will only take you as seriously as you take yourself so portray yourself in the best light possible just be confident because I believe in you and you should believe in yourself too but on the flip side this doesn’t mean that your personal statement should just be about you bragging about your accomplishment let’s say that you want a huge science competition I must rather hear about the journey of you struggling through many iterations of your project rather than you talking about all of your scientific accomplishments really I think your personal statement should be more metaphysical representation of yourself that sounds super weird but to put that in another way I think that the personal statement is really the place where you showcase your identity outside of concrete accomplishments I’ll be talking more about personal statement ideas and ways to get your creative juices flowing in a future video so stay tuned for that so if you’re dying to rave about your accomplishments save that maybe for your resume your activity section or your supplement there’s always one supplemental question that asks you about one of your activities and for you to elaborate on that more so if there is one area where you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot don’t feel like you have to write about that for your personal statement if you’d like to hear more about supplemental essays and personal statements I do have videos from last summer with my friends talking about this topics and I will put them up here somewhere something else that you’ve probably heard before is that it’s not important what you write about it’s how you choose to write about it well I do agree that it doesn’t necessarily matter what you write about there are topics that aren’t cliche and more difficult to make unique to yourself so for example a lot of common narratives are ones that are about conquering failure in either a musical performance or sports game or you know a competition and while you can spend that to make it unique it is a lot more difficult and I personally kind of strayed away from those topics because I didn’t want to have to deal with being another person in the crowd writing about failing a class and then succeeding later tends to be a little bit more shallow of a topic something I think it’s really important for you to hear is that when you’re applying for colleges you’re only 17 or 18 you probably haven’t had a major life-changing event that you can write about right off the bat so don’t feel like you need to you don’t have to write about something really really big you don’t have to cure cancer or win international competitions to get into college your essay doesn’t have to be about a life-changing event because chances are you probably haven’t even had one yet and that’s totally okay you’d be surprised by what you end up writing about I wrote about something that I thought was a seemingly small blip in my life I decided to work in a boffo sort and that’s what I ended up writing about not all these music competitions that I spent hours on not about you know doing research at Stanford I decided to write about bhava small events in your life can change you in ways that are more long-lasting than you think I hope you enjoyed that not so little pep talk I really hope that you take these to heart because the mindset that you go into college applications with definitely reflects in your essays so now let’s finally talk about what makes a good college essay with a brief 650 word essay you can really tell a lot about yourself you want your admissions reader to walk away from your essay and ultimately remember you in just a few words so till I break more on that you want to portray yourself as a few key qualities that really define you so when your admissions reader brings you to the table what are they going to describe you as maybe you’re someone who just really likes building things and making things with your hands maybe you built a bike or a car something crazy that the admissions officers can talk about or maybe hear someone who’s really introspective loves to journal to write poetry so take time to introspect and think about what qualities you want these admissions officers to remember you for demonstrating your values through your essays really shows maturity and when you have specific experiences to back up those values that’s when you have a really strong essay a really good essay is something that is compelling exciting and you can’t stop reading it and how do you do that well you’ve probably heard this before but show don’t tell but there’s a lot more that goes into that phrase than just writing a pretty essay something that I actually learned in my poetry class was that omitting information can sometimes be stronger and more meaningful than just writing it sure you want to be able to paint a picture of what you did on this specific day that you know change your mind set on something but you also want to portray through your actions what you learn from that experience and how you’ve changed since then without directly saying oh I have become a better person now so instead of concluding your essay was saying I learned self accountability through this experience give examples of what actions you’ve taken since that event again I’m driving this point home but introspect think meaningfully about your experiences and try to write them on a more conceptual level than directly stating what happened one nice thing that I really like to touch on is to make sure that your essay is centered around you and not anyone else this sounds so obvious but you’d be surprised how many people make this mistake for example one of my personal statement drafts I wrote about the idea of growing up and how I thought about that when I saw my little cousin growing up and changing including another major person in your essays is honestly kind of tricky because it can easily turn into an essay that talks more about the other person than yourself if you do choose to talk about a family member or a friend that really impacted your life make sure you include more information about how you dealt with the situation how you handled it and what you learned from it obviously it’s not a hard and fast rule to not write about other people in your essays I do have friends I wrote successful college essays that included a family member and the relationship with them when you’re writing a college application essay make sure to keep asking yourself what are these lines specifically portraying about myself and what is my college admissions radar going to learn about me I think a really common personal statement format that works for a lot of people is one in which your introduction starts in media res what this means is you start your essay in the middle of a situation or event and you’re kind of in action the reader is in suspense they want to know what happens they need more context so they keep reading it’s a great way to hook your readers in so I’m gonna give a really bad example when I’m trying this guy but for example if you start a media res it would be something like the clock strikes ten pencils are scribbling and cost pages and I’m sweating so when someone reads that line they’re wondering what’s going on where is this person and they have to keep reading to find out I do believe that the beginning the end of your essay are extremely important and usually what the reader kind of takes away so make sure you spend a lot of time on trying to figure out ways to hook the reader in the later I would say two-thirds of your essay are gonna be about describing what you learn from this event I’m gonna kind of contradict my show don’t tell points because I well I do think that showing is really important for the anecdotal here I say sometimes you kind of have to just be straightforward and describe sort of lessons that you took away from this experience of course that doesn’t mean that you should just be blatantly stating things but it’s kind of hard to show for your entire essay keep in mind that prose can be powerful even if it’s not showing you just have to be a little more careful about how you choose your words but anyways to recap on the format you start your essay straight in the middle of some activity some anecdote and then you go on for the later part of your essay which should take up the majority discussing how that event change you what you gain from it another tip is to not expand your vocabulary when it’s unnecessary because at the end of the day admissions readers have to read so many essays and they want to kind of just get to the point so be clear and concise without being super wordy and verbose or else readers are just gonna want to skip through your essay in an era where typing on your laptop is so commonplace I think printing out your essay sitting down and editing it is really really helpful so earlier on in this video I talked about picking specific values that you identify yourself having and trying to portray those to the best of your ability to admissions reader so now that you’ve printed out your essay highlight those sections that portray those values your page should be covered in highlights because every sentence should count if you find that there’s a lot of white space and filler those are the sections that you should be cutting down in addition don’t have too many people edit your essays because you’re gonna get kind of lost in other people’s opinions at the end of the day this college application is describing you and who knows you better than yourself no one remember that while you can have a college counselor and people who are educated in the college application process and know the ins and outs you make the final decisions that being said if you do want someone to look over your essays I will be editing college applications again this year if you’d like me to take a look at your essays I would be honored take a look at my website it will be linked down below you can find out more information about services that I offer it I genuinely just enjoy reading personal statements because I find my viewers extremely interesting as people I don’t know if that’s weird but I just really enjoy reading people’s essays so yeah I take a look at my website and then shoot me an email at may underscore Gow at Brown edu if you’d like essays reviewed or other college application help give this video a like subscribe and comment anything you want down below I always read the comments and until the next video I love you the most bye hope you guys like 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