Being yourself in college essays is important. That’s what college admissions counselors will tell you. In fact, at a recent panel in New York City, admissions officers at Yale, Brandeis, and Harvard stressed a desire to find “authentic” applicants who are true to themselves. They want people who own who they are. We absolutely agree. Your college essays should reflect who you are. They should show your “authentic” self. With one qualifier.
People have many authentic selves. If you’re the guy who doesn’t help your fellow students study for an exam because you don’t want them to do as well as you, this isn’t something you should showcase in your college essays. It might be your “authentic” self but in your 500 word personal statement, it’s probably best not to highlight this. And certainly this isn’t the only authentic part of you to showcase. Maybe when it snows, you shovel the driveways of your entire block so they have a nice surprise to wake up to.
The point is — it’s important to be authentic. Being yourself in college essays is essential. But it’s your choice what you want to showcase in these opportunities. It’s your choice to showcase the right authentic part of you. So definitely listen to what these college admissions counselors are saying…but that doesn’t mean you should write about how you like to bully other girls. Get it?