trust me babe I’ve been on that boat a million times.
Unfortunately tbh the essay that everyone said they loved was the one where I had to drive home the token minority graphic and I only sent that to one school (I ended up going there even though their film program sucks but that’s ok! Mainly because I’ve got some good internships under my belt, semi-changing career paths to be more art-oriented and I met my love but that’s besides the point)
First you should breathe.
Then remember the above where I realized slowly that everything will work out eventually even if by “working out” means that you stop having a school career and start having a life. And when I say that it has nothing to do with how great the school is or the program or how good of a fit you are.
At some point, maybe it’s sometime while you’re in college or after you graduate— hell maybe it was in high school or maybe you drop out and realize it after— but someday you might still be studying and growing and learning but you stop giving a crap about the pressures of school itself.
Course I might be crazy but the point of this tangent is that at one point two years ago I got pointers on editing a different essay and I finally understand what he meant.
I was told that one of my essays was good but to tie back my ending point on how college would enrich my experiences.
Point of the story (cynically): College administrators in highly competitive schools still want to hear that we’re grateful even when we’re getting the short end of the stick
Point (uncynically): don’t do that
Tell a story, tell your story
Don’t kiss up because they don’t owe you anything. You are a treasure and while they may be giving up minutes in a couple months to read through thousands of “yous”, you will have spent months writing how you’re unlike “them”
You’re the entire package, completely unique and I bet whether you love to decoupage, put together impromptu cabaret shows, or do podcasts on thurday nights about how great the 80s must have been.
But I say this a lot in different ways and maybe it’s not just about that one quirk that you think will set you apart from thousands of other faceless statistics.
So ask yourself this (if it’s not too morbid and if it helps jog your brain)
If you were to die tomorrow name one thing you would want in your obituary
Ponder it, expand it, condense into an elevator pitch
It doesn’t have to be a legacy, it doesn’t have to be the passing on of familial ties. It’s about what you think is so important that you want to exclusively and inclusively identify yourself with, why it matters to you and why should it matter to everyone else.
If it sounds cheesy or fatalistic, it probably is so maybe live up to our generational stereotypes and be blunt, ruthless and mildly cynical
One more thing: people talk about developing your writing voice in college personal statements and that’s extremely important.
Not saying I don’t like buzzfeed nerdiness every once in a while but if I have to read another Thought Catalog, TSM, Buzzfeed, Wordpress or random knock-off brand site with a catchy title but sounds exactly the fucking same I will choke someone and college admissions officers probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
You’re not getting graded on your formality and you’re not Ellen Page (although if you have a sense of humor, play with it). Don’t sound like a robot, don’t sound like a jerk, and certainly don’t sound like you’re Jack Donaghy.
I could definitely get more specific but that’s my updated perspective as of now.
Sorry if I sounded cranky and/or bitchy and I hope that if you’re looking for something more optimistic that you’ll look at some of my earlier posts because I wasn’t wrong then and even though I’ve got bite now, my message is pretty similar.
Message me if you want more specific direction