At half time, the local soccer team needed a break from beating us 6-0 during the 95-degree, 100% humidity afternoon, and we needed a break from losing–and from the Zambian sun.
Our team, composed of volunteers from my school, huddled up to create strategies to lose by less, but I was not listening because I frankly could not care less who won.
This example underscores an immensely important point for college essay writing: Taken together, the vividness, relatability, and authenticity of this story will surely demonstrate the student’s tendency to practice mindfulness during difficult moments and capture the reader’s attention—and heart., great authors engage us not by plainly telling us how the story unfolds, but rather through creating a vivid moving picture in our minds.
Then, we as the reader ascribe certain qualities to the characters and infer what they may have been feeling or thinking.
Instead, I was smiling uncontrollably, even though I was dripping in sweat, covered in dirt, and had missed three shots on goal during the first half.
During that soccer game, I was the happiest I had been on my entire trip, but I did not know or think about why I felt like this until midway through the second half.”I chose to highlight this example on purpose.The essay prompts are purposefully made very general, so this approach is not at all a problem.Another benefit to focusing on specific moments where your child exhibited his or her defining qualities is that the essay, and by extension, your child, will be more memorable.The story occurs during an international volunteer trip, a common essay topic that I highlighted in Comparison #1, above.However, a close read reveals that the essay isn’t about the trip at all, but rather about a realization or lesson learned during a specific moment during that trip.For example, a student who wants to convey their perfectionism may choose to write about how attempting to perfectly floss every single tooth in the morning has produced impeccable teeth, but also led to tardiness five days before the school year’s end, ruining their perfect attendance record.Once these moments have been identified, the best college essay writers will choose a college essay prompt where their story can reasonably fit.In the example above, admissions committee members will certainly remember “the perfectionistic girl whose tooth-flossing ruined her perfect attendance record.” And like the perfectionism example, your student will get bonus points for demonstrating the positive and negative aspects of owning their defining qualities.Most admissions committee members from top colleges that I’ve spoken with tell me that they read hundreds of essays during each admissions cycle.Shouldn’t that be enough for your child to gain admissions to his or her top-choice schools?Probably, especially since your child has been accomplishing all of this while trying to be a normal teenager, which is hard enough in itself!