a year ago
Admissions Advice

Should my application essay topic be passion-focused or leadership-focused?

Would admission officers prefer an essay about one of my passions/skills or an essay about a volunteer experience I had and the lessons I learned from it? I have written two essays based on Common App essay prompts: one about my love of learning languages, a specific encounter with a bilingual that influenced me, and how I plan to put my skills to use in college; and one about a hard experience as a special-needs camp counselor and the lessons I've learned from it that apply to my life. I really prefer the one about my passion for language because I feel like it does a better job of showing readers my true personality and my willingness to learn. I haven't really done much leadership beyond the special needs camp, so I feel like I'm lying when I write about myself in that way. But I've heard that admission officers prefer essays that demonstrate commitment, leadership, overcoming challenges, etc. Do admission officers really want to hear about a character-building experience, or would writing about a passion be just as acceptable?

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
a year ago[edited]

It's a common question that many college applicants ask themselves- should my application essay be focused on my passion or my leadership qualities? While there's no right or wrong answer, there are some things to keep in mind that may help you make your decision. If you're applying to a school that values community service and leadership experience, then a leadership-focused essay may be a good choice. On the other hand, if you're applying to a school that emphasizes creativity and independent thinking, then a passion-focused essay may be a better fit. Ultimately, the best way to decide is to consider what qualities the school is looking for and which of those qualities you feel best represents who you are. By taking the time to reflect on what makes you unique, you'll be able to choose an essay topic that will help you stand out from the crowd. Btw, some info I took from papers about business, leadership, etc. My referces: https://nerdyseal.com/topic-leadership/

a year ago

Personally I'm biased to the idea about passion. It still showcases many desirable traits about you. What I get from that is that you're self motivated and put your ideas into action. Maybe there's also a character building experience in that passion? A time you were having a hard time with the language but thinking back to that interaction helped you persevere, maybe? Obviously don't write about that if it hasn't happened, but that interaction seems to be very meaningful to you.

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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