College Essay Idea

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Don’t write about your grandmother in your college essay. She wouldn’t want you to either as she would want you to get in (photo credit: Catherine Scott).

A number of students have the college essay idea of writing about loved ones who have died. Maybe they’re writing about a grandmother, grandfather, great aunt, or dog. Maybe they view their college essay as an opportunity to pay tribute to their grandmother for the many lessons she taught the college applicant throughout his or her life. And it’s a very sweet gesture. The applicant’s grandmother would likely be very happy with this essay. But, as harsh as this may be, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to pay tribute to your grandmother in your college essay.

Do you realize how many tributes to grandmothers college admissions counselors read each admissions cycle? Way too many! It’s very nice that a student wants to write nice things about his or her grandmother and share the wisdom that she gave them, but the college essay is neither the time nor the place for this. We imagine your grandmother at the end of the day would want you to gain admission to a highly selective college of your dreams. Writing about her isn’t the best way to do that.

And why’s that? In addition to the plethora of other grandmother essays, this kind of essay often sheds little light on the actual applicant. Your grandmother is not applying for admission to this highly selective college — you are. They want to know about you. They want to get to know you and what you’re all about. They want to get inside your head to understand how you think, what you like, what you don’t like, and what makes you the person you are. Sorry, grandma…this is an opportunity for a college applicant to make a statement that doesn’t come around again. So take advantage of it and don’t write about your grandmother.

Check out this post on College Essay Pointers.


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1 Comment

  • Ryan says:

    When writing a admissions essay, from my experience, it helps when you talk yourself up, not by bragging but by talking about not only your academic accomplishments but also about what else you have immersed yourself in during your high school career: national honor society, athletics, and other clubs and activities that show you more than just a student, but a person active in the environment around them. Informing your prospective school about you as a person will hopefully help them see you as more than what your grades show you to be.

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