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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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Can I integrate my own creative writing, like a short story, into my college essay?

Hey folks, I've been toying with the idea of using a personal short story as the central piece of my college essay. It's a bit out there, but I think it's pretty reflective of my creativity and writing skills. Has anyone done something like this before? I'm curious if it's worth the risk or if I should stick with a more traditional approach.

8 months ago

Creative writing can absolutely be a fantastic medium to showcase your personality, writing skills, and the way you think. That said, if you're going to include a short story in your college essay, it's crucial that the story reveals something deeply significant and personal about you. For example, if you've selected the prompt asking about a challenge you've faced, a creative story that metaphorically represents your real-life experience with a challenge could work. Or if you've dealt with a challenge that's sensitive and difficult to address directly, a creative story might provide you with the means to express your thoughts in a comfortable and impactful manner.

What you don't want is for admissions officers to be wondering how this creative story connects to the actual student they're thinking of accepting. Admissions officers have no choice but to read application essays extremely quickly, because they have so many to get through, so they won't be able to stop and figure out what you're trying to say even if they'd like to. To make sure your point is coming across, think about asking a coach, a teacher, or someone else who knows you, but maybe not as well as a family member or close friend, to see if they understand what you're trying to say. If they're confused, you may want to shift towards a more conventional approach, as admissions officers likely will be too.

To summarize, your unique approach could definitely set you apart from other applicants, but it also does carry more risk. Good luck deciding what structure you want to use for your essay!

8 months ago

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