All through high school you're taught how to write the perfect research paper or give the best answer to some probing question. Maybe, just maybe, you get a chance to do some creative writing for a class. But seldom are you assigned to delve deep into your soul and explain what you learned, how you evolved, or why you do what you do. Then it's time to write the personal essay for your college application. It's your chance to convince the admission officers that they should give you the keys to their institution.
The college essay is the most important assignment of your life, yet you've had very little preparation. Granted, many schools offer essay help to seniors and I'm grateful, but by the time school starts it's pretty much the 10th hour. That's just a few weeks away from the pressure-packed deadline for early action or early decision.
On the surface, composing the essays doesn't sound that difficult because you can write about whatever you want. You could tell a story about your broken leg in the fifth grade. You could talk about your imaginary sister. You could even tell them why grilled cheese sandwiches are your favorite food. The possibilities are endless. How difficult could that be? But in reality, it's more stressful than the ACT.
The college essay requires you to look back at your entire life and pick just one event. It's an unfathomable task to isolate one thing over a course of 17 years. And once you find something that has impacted you, you have to write about it in a way that entertains or impresses admissions officers. It's one last opportunity to get everything out in the open about who you are. It's one more "look at me." But it still has to be a real experience and not something you just made up.
If you're the president of a million amazing clubs, you have to figure out how to put that in the essay because it shows leadership. If you've been involved in the same sport for four years, fit that in because it shows dedication. If you got a 30 on the ACT, figure out how to include that because it shows you're smart. But trying to figure out how to include everything in one essay is the problem.
I thought that the essay would be the easiest part but now I have two different essays. One is about the city of Chicago and how much I love it. The only problem with this essay, besides the fact that it shows a lot of passion and dedication, is that it doesn't really say anything about my leadership skills or my personality. The second essay is about my relationship with my brother. It does show a lot of personality and gives a really good look into the kind of person that I am, however, it doesn't show that I'm really passionate about any one thing.
There are so many different things in my life that have made up who I am that it's difficult to choose just one. On top of that, I have so many qualities that I want them to see in my essay. It's hard to come up with a story that shows them I'm courageous, curious, funny and unique without blatantly saying that.
Ok, now that I'm done ranking, here's the painful reality. As much as we don't like it, we seniors have to accept this assignment. It may be a long and difficult process and it may seem unfair, but if it weren't for the essay, we'd be nothing but a compilation of our transcript and standardized tests. At least the essay gives us a voice and turns us from numbers into individuals.