2 years ago
Admissions Advice

How do I write about vulnerability?

I'm applying to OSU currently, and I've been thinking about answering this essay prompt:

Stan Lee once said, “If you're writing about a character… unless you give him vulnerability, I don't think he'll be as interesting to the reader.” What makes you feel vulnerable and how has it shaped your personality?

The problem is I don't really know what makes me feel vulnerable. Honestly I'm kind of unsure of what this prompt is asking me. If I were to choose this prompt, what would I even write about? How personal is too personal?

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

While it sounds like a trick question prompt it's really straight forward through the lens of the institution asking the question. You see, all the geniuses in history were excellent at overcoming failure, adversity and circumstances and conditions beyond their control. Whether you were Marie Currie, or Isaac Newton, or Thomas Edison, to forge forward in your desire for new discoveries and answers, you always had to come to work vulnerable that you will fail today, you will allow your personal character to get the best of you and that you will disappoint either yourself or others close to you.

What this prompt is asking is how are you equipped to deal with the ultra competitive environment that college is and why do you think how you overcame adversity, pain, suffering, lack of resources, lack of support, has now prepared you do take on future challenges and be positive about the opportunities that will be presented to you in the future.

If you think of Spiderman, Peter Parker is certainly intellectually curious and smart but what makes him memorable and likeable is that he is a victim. Not only does he not have a mom and dad but he is trying to be a good nephew to his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Then Uncle Ben gets killed and later on in future episodes Aunt May is at risk. His love of his life MJ is also constantly threatened so he can't escape his fate that everyone close to him is in harms way. Furthermore, his is bullied at school and has to watch his best friend date his girl.

So we root for Peter Parker not because he catches bad men but because he can be Spiderman in spite of his tragic and flawed character.

So what this prompt is asking is "tell me something intimate and personal about your personal character and why should we advocate and root for you????" Everyone has a personal demon, it could be person, a family member like a parent or a sibling. It can be a bully. It might be a physical handicap, a struggle with mental wellness, difficulty with accepting how you look or how you perform. Perhaps you are tone deaf and you can't sing, play an instrument or are dyslexic. No one is a perfect human example so they are asking you point blank, "give me a reason please to help you."

I hope my answer will prompt you to be brave and surrender to the process.

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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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