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I take it these are pretty common prompts considering at least 3-4 schools that I am looking want them. I'm a little confused though, how do I answer these without bragging?
The former ("What can you offer our school?") seems simple enough. Yet, I'm not sure if they want a single story, a history, or a list? For me, personally, I want to discuss my quiet initiative, motivation and curiosity. Teachers say I possess one of the stronger work ethics that they've ever seen, and in XC, I catapulted myself from JV to lead varsity runner within a year. Although, you might say, it's a mixture of self-loathing, pride, Nietzschean eccentricity and an ounce of fun that got me there.
I want to get across that while some people are very active and loud in their community service activities, someone can be just as passionate about certain things and, due to the circumstances, be seen as the quieter type. I would have more time for EC's if I didn't love doing (and succeeding at) school work so much. I'm the guy that works behind the scenes on school-projects and those few service activities I do, and my track record shows that I'm *very* conscientious--a true workaholic. And sure, I also build guitars and breed guppies in the summers. Isn't *this* guy a useful asset to have around campus?
You see, my big concern is that in my attempt to garner sympathy for the ambitious and misunderstood ("like Germany", get the reference?) mad-scientist within me, I might give off the impression that I'm just another machine academic or a social-recluse. Your thoughts?
The second prompt, an equally common one, has me stumped. Do they simply want me to flatter them?
Anything you can help me with or any comments you wish to add are greatly appreciated. Thanks!