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how personal is too personal??

topick19topick19 Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
edited May 2008 in College Essays
I've read many of the posts and they all said something about being honest as the whole point of the essay is to reveal yourself to the adcom. But I don't know exactly where the border line between a good amt of info vs. too much info. I sorta want to talk about my depression and just all this crap in my life. But idk if thats something that a adcom should know or care. ( although i think they should lol)
Post edited by topick19 on

Replies to: how personal is too personal??

  • ADadADad Registered User Posts: 4,921 Senior Member
    Consider searching CC for "mental illness" or "depression". There are some threads on this topic.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the application is a sales effort, and effort to gain acceptances. Whatever you say in the application must be truthful, but the application need not reveal everything about you. An applicant who showers once every two weeks, or who doesn't remember who won the Civil War, need not reveal these facts in their applications.

    I do think that a little self-criticism, some self-deprecating humor, often can help an essay. These things imo can enhance credibility by revealing some of the writer's basic honesty and humanity.

    However, imo the essay should be bottom-line, overall positive about the writer. How does being bottom-line negative about oneself help one's chances of admission? I don't think it does. As the first part of a quote attributed to Rabbi Hillel goes:
    If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
  • interelations09interelations09 . Posts: 374 Member
    If you are uncomfortable writing it, it is too personal.
  • EarthlyDelightsEarthlyDelights Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    I wrote my first college essay about how my father got so drunk one night, he kicked me out of my house.. I talked about the long walk I had and how the smallest things I ran into affected me in the future..
  • pseudoviruspseudovirus Registered User Posts: 222 Junior Member
    I was just thinking about this today. One of UoM's essay questions this year is '"describe a setback that you have faced. how did you resolve it? how did the outcome affect you? if something similair happened in the future, how would you react?" and I was thinking about writing about my eating disorder and how I've [mostly] overcome it.. I don't know if that's too personal or not!

    How much do adcoms really want to know??
  • pearandsonpearandson Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    The trick is not to 'sell' yourself but rather to sell yourself without appearing to 'sell' yourself.

    Imagine yourself voluntarily sitting before a psychologist. When the psychologist asks why you have chosen to be here, you politely say, "I'm here for self-exploration." Interested, the psychologist asks you, "What in particular do you wish to explore about yourself?" You smile and respond: "..."

    The point is, obviously the psychologist is impressed with your rationale for seeking therapy. This is similar to how an admissions officer might feel about you after glancing through the other portions of your application. Realizing that you have begun to make an excellent first impression, you hold back from promulgating your darkest of secrets. Instead, you talk about something that is particularly interesting about you, but you don't want to sound arrogant so you hold back on the self-praise. You provide an honest story (with your personal thoughts embedded) that ultimately provides the therapist with a positive synopsis of who you are.

    That's your essay.

    The questions you must ask yourself about your essay: does it entice the reader? does it show the reader who you really are? will it contribute to your application? does it sound like something you would say?

    If so, you have written a wonderful essay.
  • luzbrillanteluzbrillante Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    Generally it's suggested to avoid writing about political or religious beliefs...that's too personal. Something like a mental disorder is probably fine to mention, as long as you don't leave it at "Hi my name's Matt and I have ADD, don't you feel bad for me?"

    I'm betting it'd help, if you wrote about a disorder, tragedy, or setback, to explain how you overcame that setback.
  • topick19topick19 Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    thanks guys lol. i thought this thread was dead haha.
    Pearandson-I started my essay finally with your advice in mind.
  • ADadADad Registered User Posts: 4,921 Senior Member
    In other words, as you know, "Show, Don't Tell".

    Show, don't tell
This discussion has been closed.