Continuing our series on college admission essays, let’s take a look at another common mistake many high school students make in their personal statement for the Common Application. In this particular college admission essay, the topic happens to be sports.
Here’s the paragraph:
“Soccer has been my passion ever since I was a little kid. I grew up with a soccer ball in my bed. Soccer has in many ways been my outlet, my escape from the stresses of school. Soccer has taught me so many wonderful, powerful lessons like never giving up and always believing in myself. I recall a time when I missed in a shootout. I had let my team down. I was so upset. And yet I picked myself back up and practiced my shot for the next three weeks. The next time I had to participate in an OT shootout, I didn’t miss.”
This is trite, trite, trite. So many college applicants write about sports and the lessons that can be learned from sports. Picking yourself back up and always believing in yourself are cliché lessons that will put university admissions counselors to sleep faster than NyQuil and chamomile tea! And be careful of starting off every sentence with a word like “soccer.” Many students also begin every sentence with the word “I.” It’s not good to be repetitious like that unless you are doing it for a powerful effect…and that’s rarely the case in college admission essays. Besides, beginning with “I” all the time can make you sound egotistical and that is only going to hurt your chances for college admission. Lastly, show don’t tell. Don’t tell us how soccer has taught you so many powerful lessons. Tell college admissions counselors a narrative. This is your chance to tell your story.