What’s a tip to improve your odds of admission to highly selective colleges? Find your voice in college admissions. Alright, sounds easy, but one may ask, “What do you mean?” We mean that to better distinguish your application from the pile of others, it helps to share your unique voice, one that weaves a compelling narrative about just who you are and what makes you, well, you.
The majority of college applicants are either unable to find their voice or their voice is so ordinary or, well, to use teenager vernacular, “lame” that it leads college admissions counselors to roll their eyes. We haven’t seen a statistical analysis of the data but we suspect that eye rolls do not positively correlate with offers of admission to highly selective colleges. So one of the major things that we help our students with is to find their voice in college admissions.
Too often, students feel that it’s necessary to share trite stories about overcoming odds to win a game or grappling with the death of a grandparent (sorry if we’re a bit harsh…but it’s true nonetheless) that it’s virtually impossible to discover an applicant’s true voice. That’s why writing about smaller things often helps in finding a student’s voice. When you write about something small, there’s a lot more room to truly share who you are. Don’t forget, the hit NBC comedy “Seinfeld” was about nothing. Absolutely nothing. And yet that series had one of the most distinct voices that television has ever known. Take a page from Larry David. Try writing about nothing in your college essays and see if it just might help you find your voice. It often beats writing about something! We’re not kidding.