The Ivy Coach Daily

August 28, 2012

Sports in College Admissions Essays

We generally discourage our students from writing about sports in college admissions essays. Is that a rule we always stick to? No. Every once in a while, we read a great sports essay. But, on the whole, they generally tend to be terrible college admissions essays. Why’s that? They’re trite. They’re predictable. They’re the same thing over and over and over again. College admissions counselors read tons and tons of sports essays every day during reading season. Do you think most really want to read another one? Not really.

Sports admissions essays are typically entirely predictable. You worked hard, you improved, and you accomplished your goal. You worked really hard to achieve a goal but ultimately came up short. You did your very best in spite of not being very good and you walked away proud. You are an excellent athlete and you use your college admissions essay to let college admissions counselors know it (oy vey!). Does this sound about right? In what other direction could you possibly take your essay?

Are there exceptions? Yes. Sports can quite often be exciting. They are full of human emotion. They are full of adrenaline and rivalry. As long as you avoid at all cost trite drivel, it doesn’t have to be avoided like the plague. But it generally should be because too few college applicants are capable of avoiding trite content in sports essays. Maybe if you can tie in history or politics (i.e., The Miracle on Ice) or anything that showcases your intellectual side, you have a fighting shot of avoiding cliche drivel. And that’s exactly what it is when you fail to avoid the cliches — it’s drivel. We urge you to avoid sports college admissions essays, but if you choose to write one — take our advice.

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