Bragging in admissions essays is a terrible idea. It’s one of the worst things that you can do as you apply to highly selective colleges. Bragging will severely hurt your chances for admission. If you had a shot before you decided to brag, your shot is now entirely different. It’s slimmer — big time! Just because you watched last night’s Emmy awards in which Hollywood celebrities congratulated themselves for their achievements this past year, that doesn’t mean that you should be taking inspiration from them. Don’t. Whatever you do.
What do you think a college admissions counselor will think when they read that you’re very proud of getting an ‘A’ in AP Biology? They’ll think a.) why is this applicant bragging about his grade, b.) why does she care so much about grades that she is writing about it in her essay, and c.) why is she so boring as to write about her grades? And bragging doesn’t always have to revolve around grades. Maybe it’s stating ever so slightly in your college admissions essay that you are the first chair violinist. Is that really necessary? It’s already on your activity sheet. Why did you feel the need to restate this fact? It’s clear and blatant bragging. Don’t do it.
College admissions counselors — like all human beings — dislike braggarts. They want to avoid them. They don’t want to root for them. In fact, they’ll root against them. In highly selective college admissions, what you want is to get college admissions counselors to go to bat for you, to fight for you. By bragging, not only will college admissions counselors not go to bat for you but they might even fight against your admission. Do you really want to open yourself up to this? Be very careful about bragging in admissions essays. You may not even realize that you’re doing it because you’re so used to bragging. Have someone else read over your essays or, at the very least, read over your essays with the only focus of searching for brags. Seriously. We’re not kidding.