Have you ever received the college admission essay advice to just be yourself? You’re told to be yourself throughout life — whether on dates with prospective romantic interests, on job interviews, on social media sites, etc. And you’re told to showcase who you are and what you’re all about in your college admissions essays as well. So you should be yourself in these essays, right? Wrong. Well, it absolutely depends.
If you’re someone who plays soccer and all you ever talk about is soccer and all you know is soccer, that doesn’t mean you should write about soccer in your college admissions personal statement. Even if it’s all you know and it’s what you’re all about, that makes you a boring person. Do you think college admissions counselors at highly selective colleges want to go to bat for a really boring candidate? Not so much. Sports essays, in general, are rather boring so it’s good advice to stay away from them at all cost.
And what if you’re a grade grubber who cares more about getting great grades than learning? Is this a part of yourself that you should showcase to college admissions counselors? Of course not. You shouldn’t showcase that for anyone (especially teachers and your guidance counselor — who are only going to write less positive letters of recommendation on your behalf because of it). So even if you are a grade grubber, hide your true self in college essays. Always being who you are isn’t always the best advice. There’s a fine line! Don’t cross it.
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