The Ivy Coach Daily

September 26, 2023

Bragging in College Essays: Is It Ever Okay?

Bragging In College Essays
College applicants should avoid bragging in their college essays (photo credit: Yamaha Corporation).

Previously Published on August 16, 2011:

It’s the knee-jerk reaction of so many college applicants to our nation’s elite universities: they brag. They brag about the awards they’ve earned, the community service they’ve performed, their athletic achievements, and more. It’s one of the biggest mistakes they could make while navigating the churning waters of elite college admissions.”

Admissions Officers Root for Likable Students, Not Braggarts

You see, admissions officers are human beings, and, in our experience, most human beings don’t like braggarts. In fact, if an application goes to committee, it generally means that one admissions officer is in the student’s corner while another is against the student. In this scenario, if a likable applicant is up against a braggart, Ivy Coach bets on the likable candidate every time out of ten. It’s that straightforward.

The Essays Should Not Be Used as Real Estate to Brag

So many students, and especially their parents, think that The Common Application’s Personal Statement and the school-specific supplemental essays, in particular, are opportunities to brag and convince admissions officers that they are the crème de la crème. But, instead, such boasts will come across as selling: “I’ve done this. I’ve done that. Admit me, admit me.” Admissions officers don’t want to be sold to. It’s their job to decide whose experiences and achievements deserve praise — not an applicant’s. Instead, applicants should show, not tell.

So the next time you’re thinking of bragging in a college essay, take your fingers off the keyboard, pause, and delete anything that could — no matter how subtle — even have the appearance of a brag.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with College Admissions Essays

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance in helping you submit powerful college admissions essays for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle that contain zero brags and inspire admissions officers to want to root for you, fill out our free consultation form. We’ll then be in touch to outline our college counseling services.


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