Bragging in college essays might seem like the natural thing to do for many college applicants. You’re applying to Harvard, Columbia, and Dartmouth, home of some of the best and brightest students in the world and so you want to prove to Ivy League admissions counselors that you will fit right in. You want to prove that you’re special, too. You want them to know that they just have to admit you and you’re going to delineate just why in your college admissions essays.
But the truth of the matter is that you couldn’t take a worse approach. College essays are not a forum to brag. While many students choose to brag, our students don’t because, ultimately, you want to come across as likable to college admissions counselors. Nobody likes braggarts. People don’t want to hang out with pompous kids. And they’re likely not going to want to admit them. These are the people you want going to bat for you. Don’t put them off by telling them about all of your accomplishments!
Listing your accomplishments in college essays says little to nothing about you other than that you’ve got nothing to say. College essays are an opportunity to showcase who you are, what you stand for, what makes you tick, and what you’re all about. It’s a chance for you to weave a compelling narrative about your life. Often, the best essays are about the smallest stories. We’ll talk more about that later but, for now, know that writing about how you were the best class president in your school’s long history is something to avoid at all cost!
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