By Sarah Weinberg, HerCampus.com
Mom and Dad are telling you to check out College Board’s top ten guidelines for writing a personal statement. Your English professor is assigning a two-page paper with a prompt eerily similar to that of an admissions essay. Crazy Aunt Betsy wants to show you her own statement from a million years ago. With so many pieces of advice (both good and bad) at your fingertips, it’s difficult to know what to take seriously, what to disregard and when to follow your gut.
At Her Campus, we know how much writing your college admissions essay can make you want to pull your hair out, but keep those hands off your pretty little head. We’ve taken everything everyone’s telling you and broken it down into five simple, easy-to-digest tips to take you through the entire process, from start to finish.
1. They tell you to make yourself stand out, but you should take this as an opportunity to let your personality shine through.
Just because you haven’t spent time building an orphanage in a third world country or chairing the “Save the Dolphins” committee at your high school doesn’t mean you can’t make an impression on the acceptance committee. Open-ended prompts like “What makes you stand out?” are only scary if you allow them to be scary. If you can discuss one of your unique traits, your passion will make it seem just as important as anything else. As a pre-collegiette who loves baking, was your best summer ever spent creating the ultimate chocolate cake recipe? Put a spin on that, and write about how it taught you perseverance and the ability to take criticism.
It works: “When I applied to Connecticut College, they had a short essay asking ‘What is something about you that we wouldn’t know from the rest of your application?’ I wrote about my awesome Cher impression. I know they remembered because on the bottom of my acceptance letter someone handwrote ‘Can’t wait to see that Cher impression.’” – Marissa Alioto
2. They want to accept smart, informed collegiettes, but it’s okay to ditch some of the rules.
The tried and true five paragraph essay has its place in certain scholastic situations — and this isn’t it. Show how those ten-plus years of schooling have strengthened your writing prowess by changing up your statement’s format. What’s more? An energetic, conversational tone will make you seem like a real teenager with interesting things to say rather than a trained, robotic one who jots down exactly what she thinks people want to read.
Don’t forget: There are many rules you should not forgo: proper grammar is more than necessary, spelling is key, and an intriguing introduction and conclusion should always bookend your essay.
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the original article from hercampus.com, written by Sarah Weinberg