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whitefox589whitefox589 0 replies6 threadsRegistered User New Member
For my college essay, I want to write about my kindness/attentiveness towards people because I think that is the biggest quality I have. Would examples such as talking to the new exchange student or tutoring classmates despite myself being introverted shy person make a good personal essay (if i showed how I changed from shy to confident, etc.) ? I would also like to introduce aspects of humility and respect coming from my Japanese ancestry somehow..
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Replies to: Compassion/Kindness

  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1437 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think this type of essay could work well if done right, for example tying in your Japanese ancestry and how you went from shy introvert to a confident caring person.

    I would start off with a great first sentence to hook the reader, maybe use one example of kindness/compassion that someone showed you growing up and resonated with you, weave in your family culture of kindness (respect?) and make sure to end the essay on a high note.

    At the end of the day, adcom's want you to SHOW them who you are, how you can contribute to their campus culture, and once they are done reading the essay will say "I like this kid". Make sure to have others (e.g. teachers, counselors, trusted friends, etc.) read your essay before submitting but don't lose your 17 year old voice by having it over polished.

    A couple of other thoughts. I think it is important to have an overall theme of who you are and tie-in all of the ECs, classes you took, your essays, and LORs. Some call this "packaging" but I think it helps the overall application.

    With that said, in my personal opinion I'm not really sure the essay is that important for most colleges other then the highest ranked ones (Top 25 or Top 50?). For example, UCSB claims that the essay is 50% of the factor in admissions but when I look at my D20's Naviance, no applicant has been rejected by that college if they had at least an ACT of 32 and a GPA of 4.2. Maybe if you are a borderline student, the essay matters but at most colleges course rigor, GPA, test scores rule the day and one could write a mediocre essay and still get accepted. The converse is not true, if you had mediocre course rigor, GPA and test scores it's unlikely the essay will get you in.

    Good luck to you!
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9235 replies496 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This can work, but show rather than tell. I like the above suggestion.

    I work with students on their essays and one of my students wanted to write about how much her friendships mean to her. The whole essay was like this:
    “Everyone says I’m a great friend and my friendships are very important to me....”
    It was dull, to say the least. She came up with ideas to illustrate what she wanted them to know by recounting stories that demonstrated her point. It was far more interesting to be able to envision the situation, rather than just be told what she wanted to convey.

    Show, not just tell.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5065 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 20
    S19 wrote about the friendships he nurtured while sitting in our local diner. He felt like everything else had been covered with the rest of his app - his ECs, his scores, his rigor. We knew what his teachers were going to write as they told us at teacher conferences and they were going to speak to his curiosity and enthusiasm and leadership in class.

    He wanted the AOs to understand how his friendships were the most important thing to him and that he intended to make these types of personal connections in college. We think the essay went over well. Out of nine acceptances, he had handwritten comments on his hard copy acceptance letters about the essay on more than half.

    Obviously, the essay has to be written well. And you want to show and not tell like described above. His essay was about one lunch. It was descriptive but also reflective. He used dialogue to show how his friends communicated and supported each other. I think it's a good topic. Good luck!!
    edited September 20
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34153 replies378 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sure, friendliness is something colleges like. But you're writing for your college app, not an open topic for the hs English teacher. And some of the point is how you convey, as lindagaf points out.

    How can you "show" this? Compassion is different than kindness and usually relates to what you actually do for others. Comm service is the obvious context. Kindness also needs examples, so a reader can "see" it, not just need to take your word for it. How have you reached out? It's in challenging ways or just being anice friend? And: out of your usual comfort zone and in ways that show this is more than ordinary niceness to friends or peers.

    Likewise, humility comes out in the writing- it's not humble to claim you're humble.

    Homerdog, I suspect your son showed a lot of fine qualities in how he wrote and what he conveyed.

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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1720 replies26 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I like your topic. It sounds very authentic. If you can do that in this short post, I'm sure you can do it in an essay. To me, this topic sounds true to a 17/18 year old. So many of the essay ideas sound like a student is trying to hard to be something they aren't. Good luck and what a great trait.
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  • whitefox589whitefox589 0 replies6 threadsRegistered User New Member
    thank you so much! my EA date is 11/1 and I was worried if my topic would be too cliche, but apparently not.
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