Imagine an admissions officer reading hundreds of essays! Your essay is your opportunity to stand out as a person so that the reader wants to place your application at the top of that “admit” pile! Admissions officers want to learn about:
- who you are and that you know yourself
- what you have to offer as a potential member of the incoming class
- how you have grown or what you have learned from an experience
- something that differentiates you from other applicants
The rule of good admissions essay writing is “Show, don’t tell.” And how you write your essay is as important as what you say.
Some of the best essays I have read have included: being too tall or too short, myopic, an only child, or a middle child; being a member of a particular community or a family full of cultural diversity; stories about training pets, attending football camp, losing a loved one, living with a disability or the disability of a family member – all of which were written with a strong lead sentence and opening paragraph, demonstrated good, solid writing skills and sentence structure, and sparkled with personality.
There are very few topics that are truly off limits, although most admissions officers and readers strongly prefer not to read essays of a sexual or suggestive nature. Extremely controversial topics have to be treated very carefully, but if you have a passion about a particular issue, write about it!