Travel in College Essays
Many students boast about their extensive travel in college essays. Maybe it’s a backpacking trip through Europe or a service trip to Nicaragua. Maybe it’s a hike through the Amazon or a safari in South Africa. Do you know what we at Ivy Coach think of this? We think it’s a major mistake for you to be writing about such topics in your college essays. A major, major mistake. We’ve been saying it for years and yet, year after year, students send us their college essays boasting of their extensive travel throughout the world. Oy vey! Don’t do it. Don’t make the mistake these students are making!
Why is writing about travel not what you should be doing in college essays? Even if it involves a service trip? Because, first of all, it’s entirely boring. Just as nobody wants to look over your shoulder as you show them picture after picture of your adventures on the Greek Islands (even if they’re smiling and nodding that they do), no college admissions officer at a highly selective college wants to hear about it either. It is: So Boring! And you don’t want to be boring in your college essays. It’s a big no-no.
But beyond boring, all that traveling abroad conveys to admissions officers at highly selective colleges is that mommy and daddy can afford to send you to far off parts of the world. It says that Mommy and daddy want you to get to experience everything imaginable. This can be rather irksome to admissions officers. Don’t you think admissions officers wish they could go on safari in South Africa? But instead you, a 17 year-old with no life experience and no real work experience, gets to experience the world’s grandest landscapes. Get the idea?
If you wrote about travel in college essays, trash those essays. Now.
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But what if you experienced something amazing on the trip. Like you did some great charity service there
No, no, no. Trite, trite, trite.
Is it acceptable to write about how living in a foreign region for about a year changed me and affected my study habits and world view? Not a summary of the trip, though.