Your college application essay is the best chance you have to stand out, and the best way to rise above the competition is by telling your story in a way that will resonate.
However, it’s important to remember that college admissions committees see a lot of applications and read a lot of essays from hopeful applicants. Because they’re experts at this, they can also very quickly suss out inauthenticity and recognize when a “story” is really just a jumble of unrelated activities, or worse, when you’re padding your experience with unlinked or one-off events.
So, how can you make sure your story connects?
Your story is just that: yours. And it’s yours to tell. But, in order to tell a compelling story, it also needs to be consistent, reflecting who you are—your passions, interests, goals, and ambitions—in a way that helps college admissions committees see the full picture of what you are bringing to their school.
To tell your story consistently, it’s important to reflect on what matters most to you and how you’ll translate that into your college career and tie it to your planned major or potential areas of study. As you do, start looking for patterns: What do you like? What gives you energy? What excites you? Use this as the wireframe for your story.
Pick a lane
If you’re struggling to see patterns, that’s okay. Pick something you’re passionate about and just get started. For instance, if you are a caregiver who loves helping people, you can begin to build your resume around this. So, volunteering or finding a job working at a hospital or nursing home would be a logical choice and may help you choose your major or discover what you were truly meant to do with your life.
This past year, I helped a young woman who was applying to medical school. As we reviewed her volunteer activities, part-time jobs, and other extracurriculars, I observed patterns that clearly illustrated her commitment to the medical field and her passion for helping others. We were easily able to develop clear key messages that reinforced her values and drafted essays that helped her get admitted to her preferred medical school.
Not only will this approach give you a well-rounded resume, but it will help the admissions committee understand who you are and what matters most to you. And don’t worry, you can always change your mind about your potential area of study later on!
Get extra help
Sometimes it can be challenging to be objective about ourselves because we’re just too close to the subject. If you’re not sure where to start or just need help honing your story, MN College Essay Coach is here to help. Reach out to learn more about how we can help you tell a consistent story!