When you write your college essay, be original and stand out -- in a good way!

College Essay – Be Original

When you write a college essay, BEAR in mind (yes, a Confession Bear joke – haha!) you’re going to be considered in comparison to all of the other applicants. This is true whether you’re writing essays for admission applications or scholarships.

You need to stand out in your college essay — in a good way!

Yours is not the only college essay that will be read by the same person, or perhaps the same committee. You’ll be walking a fine line of needing to stand out without being cheesy or overbearing. You need to sing your own praises without sounding cocky. Make the essay BEARable to read. (Yep, I went there again. I’ll try to stop. #notreally)

Take the excellent advice from Ed Weathers in What to Put in your 500-word Essay: Be YOU. You are original, so blending in with a hundred other applicants who Googled the same Eleanor Roosevelt quote is not a good strategy.

By the way, that quote story is a real-life example. I once read scholarship essays with “future” in the essay subject and a full 30% of the applicants opened with the same quote. By the time I had read the seventh one, I had lost my sense of humor about the situation.

College essay writing can be a BEAR, no doubt about it. (Annoyed yet? Consider how painful some of this stuff can be for essay readers.) A well-written essay, one which gives the reader a sense of the true you, in all of your original wonderfulness, is a joy to read.

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2 Replies to “College Essay – Be Original”

  1. Sheryl Santiago

    Great advice! I tell my students to try and put themselves in the readers’ shoes and write what they would want to read, to “share a secret,” and to use their essays as a way to become a real, living, feeling, thinking person in the eyes of the reader…

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