Writing the Successful College Application Essay: Tips for Success. Part 3

If those questions did not cure your writer’s block, consider the following exercises:

Ask for Help from Parents, Friends, and Teachers.

If you cannot characterize yourself and your personality traits do not automatically leap to mind, ask those who know you best to write a list of your five most salient personality traits. Ask why they chose the traits they did. If an image of your personality begins to emerge, brainstorm life experiences that could illustrate the particular traits.

Consider your Childhood.

While admissions officers are not interested in reading about your childhood and are more interested in the last 2-4 years of your life, you might consider events of your childhood that inspired the interests you have today. Interests that began in childhood may be the most defining parts of your life, even if you recently lost interest. For instance, if you were interested in math since an early age and now want to study medicine, you might incorporate this into your medical school admissions essay. Analyze the reasons for your interests and how they were shaped by your upbringing.

Consider your Role Models.

Many applicants do not have role models and whenever greatly influenced by just one or two people. However, for those of you who have role models and actually aspire to become like certain people, you may want to incorporate a discussion of that person and the traits you admired into your application essay.

Read Sample Admissions Essays.

Before you sat down to write a poem, you would certainly read past poets. Before writing a book of philosophy, you would consider past philosophers. In the same way, reading sample admissions essays help you understand what topics other applicants chose to use.

Determine your Goals.

Life is short. Why do you want to spend two to six years of your life at a particular college, graduate school, or professional school? How is the degree necessary to the fulfillment of your goals? When considering your goals, think broadly. Few people would be satisfied with just a career. How else will your education fit your needs and lead you to a fulfilling life?

A Quick Side Note:

You may already have an idea for an essay in mind. If you do, that is great! The next section will be all about how to take your ideas and organize them in a way so it is easy to start writing your essay. I recommend reading the rest of this section anyway, to help perfect your topic.

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