List Four Things A Personal Essay Should Not Include

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It is necessary to consider the values of different schools and demonstrate that your personal history aligns with those values. If you’re unable to be convincing without lying, you are applying to the wrong school or using the wrong approach.

Be picky about the anecdotes and details you include. There is more than one story you can choose to tell. (On the other hand, in any case, there is more than one story that can work well, so it’s not as though you’re doomed if you don’t pick the perfect one.) I wrote two essays for the Common Application.

, which I would not recommend reading) gave a lot of advice that sounded like this: “Show the admissions committee who you are! I did not have a unifying passion, just a handful of scattered interests, a strong work ethic, and a busy life (kind of like now, ha). You have your GPA, your SAT/ACT scores, etc.—you can’t do anything about those, so please try not to worry about them (i.e.

I remember being extremely stressed out by cutthroat competition and judgment from high-achieving peers.

The first essay was supposed to be a standard personal growth story.

An exaggerated telling of a single night’s events, it came out sounding self-pitying and cloying.

Sometimes people make exaggerated generalizations to fit more content into less space.

If this sounds like you, and you’re struggling, perhaps try to decrease your scope and write a sharper, more specific essay?

Often, you have to struggle really hard with something before you are good enough at it to really love it, but then the feelings of ~*~passion~*~ might be gone.

Is it passion if you are still in the middle of the struggle and kind of hate it?

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