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Please help a clueless mom trying to help her son!

allieandjoeallieandjoe Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
Hello everyone! I’m new here and my junior son is just starting the college process. Well we’ve visited schools all year but he just started filling out the common and coalition apps. Anyway, he has a couple ideas for the common app essay but I am totally clueless with this stuff. I’m hoping someone can guide us with his ideas.

1. This would be for prompt #5. He wants to talk about the sport he plays in high school and how he never thought he would be good and now he’s playing among athletes who’ve played lacrosse their entire lives while he just started in high school. Wondering how to make this not sound cocky or braggy.

2. Another story he can write about is something that happened to him while on vaca with his grandparents. He, my sister and my dad (his grandpa) were on an ATV (I think) in the Dominican Republic and ended up getting hijacked by a local with a machete and robbed. I know this sounds completely nuts but it really happened and scared the you know what out of him. I wonder if there’s a way to turn this experience into an essay and make it sound believable.
Any words of advice you can offer would be so helpful!! Thanks!

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Replies to: Please help a clueless mom trying to help her son!

  • MrElonMuskMrElonMusk Registered User Posts: 1,237 Senior Member
    Anyway, he has a couple ideas for the common app essay but I am totally clueless with this stuff. I’m hoping someone can guide us with his ideas.
    It's great that you want to help him but, this is his essay, let him shape it the way he wants it to.
    1. This would be for prompt #5. He wants to talk about the sport he plays in high school and how he never thought he would be good and now he’s playing among athletes who’ve played lacrosse their entire lives while he just started in high school. Wondering how to make this not sound cocky or braggy.
    I've read too many essays about students playing sports and honestly, they all sound the same.
    2. Another story he can write about is something that happened to him while on vaca with his grandparents. He, my sister and my dad (his grandpa) were on an ATV (I think) in the Dominican Republic and ended up getting hijacked by a local with a machete and robbed. I know this sounds completely nuts but it really happened and scared the you know what out of him. I wonder if there’s a way to turn this experience into an essay and make it sound believable.
    What did he learn from that situation. I see potential for this idea, if it's written properly.

    Some resources I recommend, along with many other people on this forum are https://www.****/ and https://www.collegeessayguy.com/. You can also google JHU's Essays that worked.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,953 Senior Member
    Here is a tips thread that used to be pinned, but I guess it was unpinned because of some debate late in the thread. But it has some things to consider.

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-essays/2003258-essay-tips-to-consider.html#latest
  • MrElonMuskMrElonMusk Registered User Posts: 1,237 Senior Member
    @intparent Great tips you have there!
  • allieandjoeallieandjoe Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    Thanks everyone...this sure is different from when I went to college :((
  • USCWolverineUSCWolverine Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    @intparent, those are some very useful tips in your link. Too bad thread was closed. I've a few nuanced questions, but I strongly suspect there's much information already available on various CC threads. I'm going to research this hard before asking them. Thanks again for link!
  • gearmomgearmom Registered User Posts: 3,885 Senior Member
    @allieandjoe Don't think admissions finds sports essays interesting. What about the DR robbery essay tells the reader something about your son?
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,953 Senior Member
    @USCWolverine Feel free to PM if you want to.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 11,800 Forum Champion
  • Patsfan5xPatsfan5x Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Good for your son for thinking about this early!

    Think about which story you would rather read. The hijacking story sounds much more interesting to me than another cliched sports story, and its such a unique experience that it could make for a very memorable essay. One advice that my kids got along the way was don't just tell me the story, show me. Don't just say you were scared, show them you were scared. Also, the story needs to reveal something about your son so however good a story it may be, the focus needs to be on what he wants the admissions people to learn about him from that story.

    But it doesn't have to be a life or death experience to be a great essay. My kids both got into highly selective schools with essays on somewhat mundane topics. Good luck!
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 14,118 Senior Member
    this sure is different from when I went to college
    Be aware that many colleges that were safeties a generation ago are reaches today for an applicant with the same stats.
  • Happy4uHappy4u Registered User Posts: 83 Junior Member
    Two things he should ask himself while crafting the essay: "Does this sound like me?" And, "Why is this important?" Do not let him be a passive character in his own story.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 7,102 Senior Member
    "Thanks everyone...this sure is different from when I went to college "

    I don't think I wrote an essay. It was all grades and test scores.

    I know you all seem to think sports are boring but I think discovering a talent you didn't and wouldn't have known about unless you tried it despite joining more experienced people is a good thing to learn. The confidence gained by that experience bodes well for the future.

    My H was robbed by gunpoint while working once in HS--great story but all he learned was quit immediately and try not to ever be in that position again. Pretty much everyone's reaction.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 11,800 Forum Champion
    I remember writing essays ..I did one about being a soccer goalie (HS Class of '82)
  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame Registered User Posts: 2,988 Senior Member
    edited April 27
    I have no memory of writing essays (HS class of '70), but many things from that long ago are hazy. 8-}

    One of the best essays I read this year (and, in many years, to be accurate) was about raising chickens. She or he got into Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, and Johns Hopkins, among others. Unique stories work well IMO.
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