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Defining Qualities Rock College Application Essays!

Defining Qualities Rock College Application Essays!

A number of my tutoring students skim via a college application essay prompt ( like the five choices for the most popular Application essay requirement), as well as in a flash, find one which speaks to them.

Other people come armed with a long selection of topic ideas they are toying with for months.

But most, I would say a lot more than 80 per cent, have no idea how to start.

And it is a awful experience.

‘There’s nothing special about me personally,’ may be the common keep from these glum and anxious rising seniors.

‘ I’m simply regular and boring,’ they state.

I listen for a bit. And try to assure them they’ll find an awesome topic ( simply because they all do!).

When they calm down, I introduce them to my sure-fire topic finding bag of tricks.

I always begin by finding the things I call their ‘defining attributes.’ Occasionally I throw in their ‘defining traits’ and ‘core values’ as well.

How come this work?

If you start brainstorming your topic ideas around one of your defining qualities, you immediately direct your essay writing process within the right path, on many levels.

As well as your essay will be focused and help you get noticed from the competition!

Listed here Are 5 Explanations Why Defining Qualitiesare The Best Place to begin

If you begin with ONE defining quality, your college application will…

  1. Have sharp FOCUS!By directing your brainstorming around ONE of your defining qualities, you effortlessly focus your topic. Rather than attempting to share many elements of your wonderful self, and risking an extremely broad and dull essay, you select someone to concentrate every thing around.With that one move, you catapult your essay topic over and beyond the 1000s of boring essays where students make an effort to pack in too many a few ideas and information regarding by themselves.
  2. Feature interesting STORIES!Once you pick ONE defining quality to create about, there is a starting place to brainstorm real-life experiences and min-stories you should use to illustrate that quality. Stories would be the easiest way to power narrative style personal essays.If you produce these real-life examples from ONE defining quality, you create certain you share only stories, experiences and moments that help your overarching point, rather than random ones which can be all over the place.
  3. Are going to be in regards to you! If you showcase just one defining quality in your essay, you are making sure that your essay is going to be in regards to you, even though you include or mention others from you life in that essay. a common error students make with your essays is to utilize a real-life story about somebody else, and their essay eventually ends up being way too much about that other person instead of themselves.The whole point of a individual statement essay is for the school to make the journey to know YOU, and never your grandma or teacher or tutoring student. Stick to your ONE defining quality, and also you don’t have to worry an excessive amount of concerning this pitfall.
  4. Your stories is going to be RELEVANT!If you start brainstorming real-life stories around your ONE defining quality, you’re 100 percent guaranteed to find good ones. Consider it: If you picked ONE defining quality that’s a big element of what move you to unique and special, then can’t help but have experienced experiences and moments in your past that occurred for you which were somehow associated with that quality.So trust that selecting just one quality will yield loads of fantastic a few ideas and experiences you need to use in your essay to talk about, clarify, analyze and reflect upon.
  5. Your essay will likely to be PERSONAL!If you share a defining quality, yous essay has got the most useful opportunity possible of being extremely individual. I really believe individual essays are best simply because they engage and relate solely to readers, as they are the absolute most memorable. This can be whatever you wish inside a college application essay.Writing about ONE defining quality makes an essay individual because that quality is one that can help define you meaning it plays a large role to make you . In addition individual than that? Together with little moments and experiences you utilize to illustrate that quality is going to be equally individual. Hurrah!!

racism persuasive essay

In order for should really be a powerful adequate instance to convince you to definitely begin by creating a selection of your defining attributes or traits.

This entire weblog has actually helpful posts to show you how to spin that quality in to a killer essay! So does my writing guide, Escape Essay Hell!, and my online essay writing program.

Even practically all the sample essays published by former students in my own collection, called Heavenly Essays, started making use of their defining qualities.

What exactly are you currently looking forward to? Stop all your worrying and get started!

Find Your Defining attributes and traits in this post!

However puzzled or have questions? Ask away into the opinions area. I favor to listen to from you!

No doubt about this.

Supplemental essays are the nasty little vexation associated with college application process. ( And also you thought the Common App essay ended up being a pain!)

I would suggest students first tackle writing their primary essay for The normal Application, or other applications that require an extended, personal-statement variety of essay.

Get that out of the means very first. It is the most difficult and a lot of crucial.

But it’s never prematurily . to begin knocking off those pesky reduced essays, called supplemental essays.

Many universites and colleges have circulated the prompts because of their needed supplemental essays for 2016-17.

Very first, collect a list of all supplemental essays you will need to answer in one single destination ( get the prompts for the supplemental essays required by all of your target schools on the the websites or on the normal Application.).

Search for ones that request common topics or themes, even though the actual questions might vary.

Generally speaking, supplemental essays fall under three categories:

  1. The prompts which can be asked probably the most frequently by many schools. Included in these are the ones that ask:a. Exactly why are you a fit for our university?b. Tell us regarding the intended major or industry of study.c. Come up with one of your extracurricular interests, or a educational interest, or perhaps a talent/accomplishment/passion/goal, etc.d. Tell us about your ‘world,’ or cultural history, household, community, area, etc.
  2. The other common types of supps ask more specific questions, and often give a famous quote or statement and have you to definitely react to it.Here’s a good example from Tufts University 2016-17 supps:’There is a Quaker saying: ‘Let your life speak.’ Describe the environmental surroundings in which you were raised your household, house, area, or community and exactly how it inspired the individual you’re today. (200 250 words)
  3. The brand new kid on the supp block would be the prompts which can be ‘out-of-the-box’ as they are looking to get students to showcase their imagination, personality and creativity.Some examples: a. Where’s Waldo? b. Produce a class c. What is your preferred word? d. What’s square one?

If you wish to get very organized, sort your list of supplemental essays into these 3 categories to aid recognize commonalities and overlapping questions.

This will assist you to observe how you need to use similar a few ideas, experiences, details, topics and answers for your brief essay reactions.

You will probably discover the most crossover in supps into the category number 1 since those would be the most typical supp questions.

However you might be surprised how you can reuse from all three categories. (Notice how the Tufts prompts about that Quaker quote really is asking about your ‘world’ or community. This topic is also probably the most common prompts for supplemental essays from the first No. 1 group. See how they overlap?)

The concept is that you create your lifetime easier by recycling your very best tips during these supps. It is totally kosher to repeat answers and themes because each university has actually their particular separate supplemental essays and doesn’t see or value that which you send towards the other people.

For instance, if you experienced a unique experience in which you learned anything crucial, then you can mine that experience to simply help answer more than one supplemental essay.

The main element is always to recognize exactly what lessons you gleaned from that experience, and zero in on particular examples as you are able to share in your supplemental essay about this.

It mightn’t hurt to brainstorm and collect a few ideas and experiences on a piece of paper or computer file as you are able to develop and send back into when focusing on these supplemental essays. Possibly pull aside your resume or other selection of your activities and achievements to spark a few ideas.

You will definitely start to observe how particular experiences and activities fall into line because of the different supplemental essay prompts.


Say, for instance, you are searching for science, and also at this point, think you might like to study marine biology.

Great! This self-knowledge should assist you to answer questions from number 1, such as for example that which you plan to study and just why you are a fit at a particular school.

The secret would be to recognize details from past, associated experiences that first motivated your curiosity about this subject, in addition to study details from your target schools that could help you develop that interest further.

Also, if you’re asked to create about an extracurricular or educational activity or interest or talent or achievement, begin by brainstorming any experiences associated with your curiosity about technology and particularly marine biology.


If you are a student which still has no clue actually what you want to major in or study in college, don’t worry! You are in the majority of college-bound children.

The things I recommend for you personally would be to focus more in your defining attributes and core values and brainstorm associated experiences that will help you discover details to simply help answer those same prompts in number 1. (Find your defining attributes HERE.)

Rather than lining up your reactions according to a particular interest, you will definitely make use of a quality or worth to spot associated moments or experiences that illustrate them.

For instance, if you’re telling a college why it is perfect for you, speak about one particular core value you hold and explain just how and just why you developed it (using particular details from your past), and exactly how and just why (also using details) that target school has actually programs, program, facilities, etc. that could assist you to continue to develop it.

A far more specific exemplory instance of this?

Say one of your defining attributes is being innovative. Think of ‘times’ and experiences from your past when you’ve got utilized this quality, including the time you helped run a fundraiser for orphaned iguanas at your school, or even the time you interned at a hospital and helped adapt a wheelchair for a blind patient.

After that you can discuss these particular experiences to answer a number of prompts, such as the Why You at Our School? ( because your target school also promotes innovation…) to fairly share an achievement (recount one of these ‘times’ you did anything innovative) to inform us about your ‘world’ (speak about the wheelchair in that hospital ‘world’ or community).

I am aware here is a good deal to take in. (Keep breathing! This will make more sense once you begin.)

To simplify, brainstorm two lists to spur a few ideas of these supplemental essays:

1. selection of interesting activities/experiences/moments…2. shorts selection of core values and defining individual attributes

From there, start to dig up those KEY details and specific experiences that may give you anything interesting and original to incorporate in your supplemental essays aside from the conventional, over-general dribble.

All you need is just one juicy detail in order to make all the difference. Why? These are generally so brief!! (and a lot of students don’t try this.)


Okay, i’ve an additional nifty tip for you on these supplemental essays.

For every of those prompts, perhaps the most ‘crazy’ ones, this works like a charm:

  1. Browse the prompt and think about what you general solution would be. Then think some more to get anything specific that happened to you that has been related in a few solution to your overall solution.
  2. Chances are that thing that occurred involved some form of problem (challenge, barrier, change, failure, setback, accident, etc.). It does not have to be a huge crises. Any little, associated problem is going to do.
  3. Consider what you learned from managing that problem.

See when you can utilize that life lesson in your supplemental essay. Chances are that incident or experience could work as being a particular exemplory instance of a larger point you create about yourself in that essay. Also it will make your essay more individual, which you wish!

The big secret to bumping up a general supplemental essay would be to consist of details and particular examples. Of course, you’ll likely need to consist of some broad, sweeping statements, but remember to pop in those smaller details to prove or support your points.


The ‘Why Do you really Fit?’ Supplemental Essay Prompt: do not simply say the method that you love the group character at your target school. Let them know just how there is a collection of over 30 over their activities group’s hats, including a classic one which you simply remove at church.

The Extracurricular Supplemental Essay Prompt: Don’t let them know the method that you really are a skilled piano player and also have claimed many prizes. Discuss the time you slipped off the bench throughout a competition, but jumped back without losing a beat (and that which you learned from that experience.)

The ‘ What’s Your Major?’ Supplemental Essay Prompt: cannot simply let them know you wish to study marine biology as you love dolphins as they are concerned about global warming. Describe the time throughout your summertime task during the community pool in which you practiced holding your breathing so you could earn your deep sea diving certificate and someday work for Green Peace.

I bet you’ve got even better real-life example and moments than those I shared here. And remember, be on alert for ways you can re-use these ‘times’ and details to answer different prompts.

You are amazed just how this overwhelming task can be contained using this types of brainstorming for specific moments and experiences.

Not only will you receive your arms around these annoying little supplemental essays, you will definitely nail them!

Simply try it out.

All the best!

However puzzled? That is ok. Simply let me know you questions into the opinions. ( There are not any dumb questions!)

Here is another post on the best way to Write Short Essays you might find helpful too!


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