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The glow from the laptop reflects off his forehead as he stares at the screen, paralyzed by panicked perfectionism.The Common Application essay prompts are neatly copied onto the blank document, taunting him with possibility.Erik De Angelis, associate director of admission at Brown University advises, "don't fall into the trap of telling us why you're a great fit for our school by telling us all about our school. Tell us how you'd take advantage of the resources and experiences available at our school.
Who are you outside the constraints that are placed upon you by school, parents, friends, and society?
How do you demonstrate character in your own unique ways? Not quite—writing about one’s self is perhaps one of the greatest challenges in college admission, especially for the overachieving perfectionist.
If all else fails you can default to the last prompt, which is essentially topic of your choice. Do not write your way into the essay by simply restating the initial prompt or question.
Instead, put the reader in the moment by painting a picture and then elaborate on why it is important.
You are writing a personal narrative, not a parable, so don’t feel compelled to conclude with a lesson learned or a happy ending. When you have finished a draft of your essay, read it over and ask yourself why you wrote it.
If you cannot answer this question, you might not be going deep enough or painting a vivid picture of who you are and what is important to you. Have you effectively communicated who you are and what you value?
His young mind races from topic to topic, each of which he dismisses immediately. His meaningful relationship with his deceased grandfather…overdone.
The first time he received a grade below an “A” on an English paper...trite.
The readers will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about you, and you will get to know yourself better as well.
For a fleeting moment, he laments the absence of a personal tragedy to exploit while he sits with the cursor flashing—a pulsating symbol of perplexity. Especially tormented are the perfectionists, you dutiful students who view the college essay as just one more roadblock to be overcome with sheer will.