Application Essay Prompts: don't write an Autobiography
It is human nature to talk about our lives in a factual manner. When it comes to application essay prompts the purpose is not to get an autobiographical story from the applicant. It is much more important to relay how the event taught you something or gave an insight to your life that didn’t exist before. This is the trick of writing the application essay. It simply isn’t going to be writing about what happened to you but rather it is a chance to show who those experiences have taught you to be.
There are many situations in life that are valuable because they teach us something that we need to know. In the case of the essay, what they want to see that you are capable of learning life’s lessons. You may not know them all yet but illustrating that a situation occurred and the lesson wasn’t lost on you. If a friend had lied to you and hurt your feelings then you don’t relay that story, but discuss in your essay how you learned to forgive and move on. This is the depth of character that an essay reader is going to want to see.
One great way to show an understanding for the plight of others is to tell a story about someone who was disadvantaged in your life either physically, mentally or financially. Then tell a story about how it made you feel and all of the many things that you did to make sure that whomever that you are writing about had a chance to experience life in a better way. This will show empathy toward your fellow man and the kind and considerate person that you are. It will clearly demonstrate that a person is not just worried about their own trip through life but also concerned with the experience that someone else is going to have. The autobiography is for a book someday, the application essay needs to be a clear display of all of your positive traits so that each person can understand what a great person you are without a person coming out and saying it.
Focus on Results
Many writers get so caught up with the events of life that they fail to properly relate the results of these events to the world. This is what needs to happen in a well written application essay. The results of your experiences need to paint a picture of someone who is kind and considerate. It isn’t possible to tell someone how great you are, it is only possible to show them.