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Question about my college essay...

MuqsithMuqsith Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
So I have two questions about the college essay that I've been working on. The main message of the essay is that I finished the memorization of the Quran in middle school, gaining the "Hafidh" title, which is a very rare, tough, and respectable achievement in the Islamic community.

I have a lot of activities that I describe in my resume and Common Application that came as a result of this achievement, but none of the activities directly state the accomplishment. In other words, my activities show my significant religious involvement while my essay shows a huge achievement that changed my life (and was not directly described anywhere else in my application). Since I'm applying to Ivies and other prestigious universities, would this count as overlapping?

Second, I know everyone who does achieve this title probably writes about it in their own application too. Does this by any chance degrade the accomplishment? I'm pretty sure it doesn't and depends mostly on how I present it, but I just wanted to get more opinions because literally every friend I talked to about it said that.

Replies to: Question about my college essay...

  • MuqsithMuqsith Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    Anyone's free to state their opinion by the way, regardless if they can relate to this situation or not.
  • assemblingphilosophiesassemblingphilosophies Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    First of all, congrats on that achievement! Your dedication is admirable and really cool!

    I don't believe that your essay would be considered overlapping, as you may mention religious activity in other sections, but your accomplishment tells more about you than just an interest in religion (ie. dedication to excellence, curiosity, responsibility, uniqueness)-- as long as you craft the essay to highlight your strengths that led to this achievement, I don't think you'll have any issues.

    You mentioned earlier that this title is very exclusive, correct? I doubt that college admissions offices receive many essays on this topic even if everyone who achieves it mentions it in their application. The likelihood of this inhibiting you is incredibly slim. It's all up to you on how you will present your accomplishment to best frame your potential as a student, I believe that you have a very strong topic that has the potential to become a great essay and vehicle to share your story.
  • 3puppies3puppies Registered User Posts: 1,608 Senior Member
    Agreed - congratulations are well deserved. I happened to hear about this topic once before - after our Princeton tour, there was an information session where the head of admissions met with about 15-16 potential applicants for an informal group discussion on the application process. It was intended to make the process seem less daunting, but some students/families always want to monopolize the conversation. I was glad I kept my mouth shut when the admin officer called out one of the moms for saying "We are taking 15 AP courses" and he told her "don't say that, there is no "we" unless you both are applying. I want to hear from the kids..."

    Anyway, there was one Muslim student who had asked about religious tolerance on campus, and later asked a very similar question as you have raised. When this student mentioned the Hafidh , the admin head was both impressed, but very kind and welcoming - I recall being impressed in the way he had answered in a way that helped explain the significance of this accomplishment to the rest of the entire group. I recall talking to DS after the session, where he told me he thought well I'm glad that kid is a year ahead of me, because he's probably getting in, but at the time it moved Princeton high on his wish list.

    If you can accomplish this, you are a talented, exceptional student, who is smart enough to understand it won't be enough on its own to guarantee admission to the elite schools. But I agree with @assemblingphilosophies , if you present this well, you have a potentially compelling topic that will allow you to share some of your best qualities.

    Best of luck to you.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 3,078 Senior Member

    I agree that this topic is not commonly written about for a personal statement. Your personal take on this accomplishment and how you write about it will help bring this topic to life.

    Good luck! : )
  • MuqsithMuqsith Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    Thanks to all three of you for the replies! I understand that this accomplishment doesn't guarantee anything, so I'll be working hard towards that essay (and the rest of my application).
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,888 Forum Champion
    edited October 14
    @Muqsith1 Just be sure the essay focuses not on the accomplishment itself but about you -- ex. what positive traits you utilized/needed to accomplish it, what you learned in the process and if it changed your, what you hope to do with your knowledge etc.
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