A number of folks who read our post recently about weird college essay questions expressed to us that good writers can write well no matter the college essay question. And these folks are exactly right. A good writer is a good writer. It doesn’t matter if that person writes newspaper articles or movies or fortune cookie sayings. It doesn’t matter if the college essay question asks about your most significant activity or what YOLO means to you. It’s your chance to show your creativity, your inner voice, your personality. It’s your chance to show what makes you…you.
A good writer doesn’t care what the essay question is and they can often shape their answer to any question. Because that’s what good writers do. It often frustrates us when parents ask what question on the Common App. is the essay we’ve worked on with their child addressing? Hello! Read the essay prompts for the Common App. Personal Statement again. And again. You’ll notice that there’s a question there that is essentially the same as every other year, one that allows you to write about whatever is important to you. If you don’t see that when you read the question, read it over again.
We at Ivy Coach are firm believers in the notion that a good writer can excel in writing within any medium. Heck, we’ve seen this put to practice. Let’s take the great American author, James McBride. James is the winner of this year’s National Book Award in fiction for his latest “New York Times” bestseller “The Good Lord Bird.” He started off as a journalist. He then wrote a memoir about his childhood — about growing up black with a Jewish mother — that became so popular that it’s required reading in classrooms across America now. Then he started writing fiction and movies with Spike Lee. And he’s now adapting one of his books, “Song Yet Sung,” with his producing partner, our Founder’s son, as a television miniseries on the Underground Railroad for FX. From journalism to non-fiction to fiction, movies, and television, James McBride has demonstrated that a good writer is a good writer irrespective of medium. The same is true of college applicants with their college admissions essays.