College Entry Essays: Writing About Achievements
A college admissions essay has several goals. The first goal is to demonstrate to the admissions committee that the writer has strong written communications skills. The second goal is to give the admissions committee a sense of the writer’s personality and their academic and intellectual interests. The third goal is to demonstrate how well the writer can respond to a prompt or communicate novel ideas.
The Importance of Achievements
The final, and perhaps most important goal of the college entry essay is to outline the writer’s academic, extra-curricular, and personal achievements. College admissions offices don’t just seek student with immaculate grade point averages and long resumes, after all; they want to enroll accomplished, drive students who have set numerous goals for themselves in the past and succeeded without external prompting.
In fact, having a lone line of impressive achievements in your admissions essay can make the difference between admission and waitlisting. Below are a few pointers for writing a standout essay that does your achievements justice.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Your Own Advocate
Many essay writers feel uncomfortable with the idea of lauding their own accomplishments. It isn’t often in life that a person is expected to brag about their success, after all-- in regular conversation, this is seen as rude, so it’s hard to switch gears and proudly discuss achievements in an essay.
However, learning how to package and promote yourself is a crucial skill, and will be important throughout your career. Don’t be afraid to describe the things you’ve done that you are proud of, and do not downplay the scope or significance of the things you’ve done! No one else will market you but you!
When writing your admissions essay, don’t focus solely on your academic or school-related accomplishments. The essay readers want to see that you are a well-rounded student with many interests and areas of success, so don’t leave any accomplishment out. You can describe successes at work, for example, or volunteer jobs you have excelled at in the past.
If you are involved in a non-academic extra-curricular, such as Boy Scout’s, marital arts, or even singing opera, do not neglect this fact in your essay. If you won an essay writing contest held by the local paper, mention it! Anything is fair game. The admissions committee will be happy to hear you have such a wide range of interests.