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How to write a college essay without sounding arrogant?

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Replies to: How to write a college essay without sounding arrogant?

  • BayhawkBayhawk 243 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Lighten the mood with some humor. For example, if your topic is a high stress situation like a Model UN conference, you might want to she some light on an inconsequential mishap from the occasion.
    For example, "I was at a robotics competition, waiting for the referee to tally the points in the match that would send my team to World Championships. As I fretted silently, the ominous chords from Halo video-game filled the air. I turned, wanting to be sure I wasn't losing my mind, and found that my best friend had taken over the sound system, his ironic acknowledgement of the tension in the gymnasium. "
    vs
    "I lead my robotics team to a close victory in sudden death, qualifying us all for VEX VRC 2010 in Dallas."
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  • NovelistoNovelisto 2937 replies18 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    EnlightenedLuLu -- A little humor in your essay will go a long way to help you avoid like Miss PityParty. It will also show that your hardships haven't beaten you.
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  • phoenixparty2phoenixparty2 5 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    What worked for me (at least I think it did ....I felt good about my essays anyway)
    is to go with your gut instinct. Write what you want to write about, dont be scared to sound foolish or silly. if you are excited about what you are writing about i think the essay will come off sounding colorful and personable. and START EARLY. start crafting the basis of your essay like in the summer before senior year if possible. start at least one of your essays. it reduces a lot of the stress and whatever.
    for me, first semester senior year was a little ******- it was much more stressful to me than junior year ever was and it was unexpected- everyone always says that senior year is a slice of cake. perhaps it was for some but not for me or any of my friends. it is a time of angst and so i would take summer as an opprotunity to think about the essays and just mull over your best ideas and take your time with the business. applying to college doesnt have to be a painful experience at all if you plan your time wisely and keep these things in perspective. everything works out in the end.
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  • phoenixparty2phoenixparty2 5 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    also dont take these college acceptances too seriously. i mean some of these college admissions systems are fluky as the devil. i mean my friend had a 4.0 and got wait listed at Davis but got into Berkeley, and didnt get into UCLA. and my other friend had a 3.5 and got into Cal Poly and wait listed at Davis. Also, people with 3.0s got into UCSC while people with 3.7s did not.
    i guess it is much easier said than done but there is no good to come out of stressing out and assuming anything when it comes to acceptance. feel confident you'll get in somewhere cuz you will. and things change. i thought for sure i would go to Santa Cruz if I got in, but I visited the schools i was ready to cross of the list like UCSB and UCI an UCD and Cal Poly but they were all really good and i saw that I could see myself at any one of those institutions...and im choosing Davis.
    if possible, apply to many schools and spread out your applications- i mean like caliber of schools and whatnot. you dont know who is going to fluke out and do some weird inconsistent bs....you want to be on the safe side
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  • IVeIVe 58 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    essays can tip the admission scales in your favor, so make it interesting, not necessarily a summary of goals and accomplishments. "I know of someone who was admitted to Harvard with a personal statement essay about his appreciation for Japanese manga comic books. Don't sweat it." yup, my D described her inclination for diversity through her love for Japanese cultural output like Manga and Anime. Also, owning a music library of 9 languages. She incorporated her non academic persona in the essay, they already know your achievements. Some colleges have a theme they want you to discuss, others leave it up to you. My D also discussed turning vegetarian and how that choice involved modifications and making a stand in places like the school cafeteria. Even though she comes across as shy when you meet her, a discussion of that situation in the cafeteria will portray a fundamentally strong person. She also wore cat ears (I think it is an anime thing?) throughout HS ignoring the looks and comments of peers, because she liked to wear them. Another chance to display strength, in the face of conformity. There are so many things in your life that you can use to portray yourself as strong, determined, consistent, moral, generous, etc, (always do it with some humor), outside of the academic world. Stay away from focusing on the latter too much. They want someone who will choose to stay in college for 4yrs no matter what, and that essay can show that side of you. You can start with a short story or anecdote as a the heading for the essay, instead of a beginning that sounds like you are incorporating the question before the answer (the way schools want you to answer questions). do a web search for 'interesting college essays' and see what comes up.
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  • ohhowrandomohhowrandom 64 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    idk if this book is only found in harvard book stores, but i saw one in there with "50 application essays from accepted harvard students"
    so maybe if you go to a book store, they might have some you can look at..
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  • hpysm2014hpysm2014 12 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    write about something you're passionate about, if possible: people tend to sound less arrogant and more interesting when they talk about something they really care about, especially the story behind how it got to be a passion
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  • kristinehintzkristinehintz 28 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    You don't have to mention your accomplishments in your college essays. In fact, if your college essay is a "romp through your resume" you are putting in redundant information that the admissions committee already knows from reading your application, resume, activity list, test scores, and teacher recommendations.

    Tell the admissions committee something they DON'T know. Something that creates a more complete portrait of who you are, what special qualities you would bring to the campus. The essay is another piece in the puzzle, and it is a unique piece, because it is YOUR OWN VOICE.
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  • kristinehintzkristinehintz 28 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    When you write about hardships, have a communication goal in mind. Just having hardships doesn't make you a special potential contributor to that college. What did you learn? How did you rise above the hardships? How has it made you a better human being, citizen, student, family member?

    The admissions committee wants to know what you will do to enrich student life on that campus and bring pride to their school. Just "suffering" doesn't do it. Yes, it can sound like a ploy for pity. They want someone they can admire, and want on their team!
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  • fallenxmindfallenxmind 83 replies16 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hey, thanks guys!
    I'm finding all of this really helpful :]
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