right arrow
Informational Message Stay on top of the information you need to navigate the admissions process amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We've got articles, videos and forum discussions that provide answers to all of your test prep, admissions and college search questions.   Visit our COVID-19 resource page.

Introducing Kai!
Your College Confidential guide bot.

Kai can provide tips and support as you research and apply to colleges, and explore majors and careers.

Chat with Kai
here, 24/7!

or Skip Forever

Want to know how a college REALLY decides who gets in? Jeff Selingo author of "Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions" spills the tea in our forums and will be answering your questions. Get yours answered now!
Get all the info you need to know to complete the FAFSA during our LIVE webinar Thursday, Sept 24, at 7pm ET. Hear from financial aid experts on deadlines, what documents you will need, and how your info will be used to calculate aid. REGISTER NOW and share your questions.
PARENTS4PARENTS: AfroPuffMom is the mother of two boys, a college junior and a high school junior. She has extensive experience reviewing applications for high-achieving, first-generation students. ASK HER ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our September Checklist for HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.

Unoriginal or Pretentious

user_316575user_316575 0 replies1 threads New Member
edited September 11 in College Essays
I know it's a little silly to ask whether or not a common app idea is "bad" or not, but what is life without cliche? I essentially want to write about the coping mechanisms I have used throughout various difficult moments of my life (although I may just chose one of these to reflect on). I'm nervous that this might come off as either overly pretentious (I mean, is deep reflection really necessary at 17) or just plain unoriginal. Also, I am planning on ending by discussing how the way I dealt with life may have been a mistake, but life is still wondrous and I managed to make the best of things without always making the "best" choices. Really, just lmk if this is a pretentious or obnoxious idea. (btw none of my difficulties are extraordinarily deep, addiction within my family, moving, anxiety, depression)
edited September 11
8 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Unoriginal or Pretentious

  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7871 replies39 threads Senior Member
    The essays this year I assume might have extra weight. They need to find out what type of student you will be on campus and how you will make a difference. I am not sure how this shows this. Yes, cliche. What else you got?
    · Reply · Share
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3700 replies89 threads Senior Member
    If you write about coping mechanisms, a college is going to ask themselves what you need to cope with that others don't, and what kind of fallout they're going to have to deal with when your coping mechanisms fail. You don't want to write an essay that suggests there could be something that will prevent you from graduating on time or that it could cost the college more to educate you.

    The essay is a sales piece and you are pitching to a business. Don't lose sight of that.

    This is not to minimize what you have been through. It is not to stigmatize mental health issues.

    Kids think that when a college "wants to get to know you" that you have to share everything. It doesn't. They want to know you can be successful at their school, that you will benefit more than other applicants from what they have to offer, that you will fit in with their campus needs and culture, that you will make a positive and productive contribution to campus life and the community around you... that you're a nice and decent human being. Your essay should address those things.
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 11856 replies161 threads Senior Member
    @user_316575 : Your approach is appropriate, not pretentious.

    Of course, much depends upon your execution of your theme, but overall your approach is outstanding.
    · Reply · Share
  • LindagafLindagaf 11244 replies600 threads Super Moderator
    I agree that how you execute this is key. I don’t think it’s a cliche and to me it sounds as if it might be interesting. Again, it will 100% depend on your writing skills.
    · Reply · Share
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6799 replies10 threads Senior Member
    AOs like kids who have given serious thought to who they are and what makes them tick. This is something that you bring to campus. This is the part of the app that allows them to see you the person rather than you the stats. So I think it's worth a try. Write it and see how it comes across.

    It is all in the execution.
    · Reply · Share
  • pickpocketpickpocket 449 replies4 threads Member
    I am planning on ending by discussing how the way I dealt with life may have been a mistake, but life is still wondrous and I managed to make the best of things without always making the "best" choices.

    THIS part makes me think you may have a compelling, unique essay that illuminates your personality. Go for it!

    · Reply · Share
  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35604 replies400 threads Senior Member
    Yes, they like "self aware" and "grounded" kids. But that doesn't mean you can lose the point of the app personal statement. It's not, as @collegemom3717 points out, an exercise in revelation, nor just any bright story. It benefiits from showing (which means examples) the assets they want in the class. The whole vehicle is "Show, not just tell."

    There's no need to dig for some expose sort of truth. Just a nice narrative that shows your strengths-- that is, the ones adcoms want to find in you. They don't care about your coping mechanisms or any borderline negatives. Just "telling" them you make the best of things isn't offering any substance.

    This isn't about musings. We don't know your targets, but the higher you aim, the more important to understand the right strengths to convey. And how.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity