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Should my college essays be written in descriptive form or in the form of a story?


Should my answer to the essay prompts be straight out descriptions or as a more interactive story type of thing?


2 answers

answered on
Accepted answer

Your college essay can be in many forms, but you should choose the one that allows you to share your story in the most engaging way. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "descriptive form," but if that means simply describing/reporting what happened in a straightforward way, you should avoid that. One of the biggest mistakes students make on their essays is to simply state what happened, rather than showing. You might've heard the advice "Show, don't tell" in your English class already, but it's worth repeating since it's vital to writing a strong essay.

Here's an example:

Instead of saying, β€œI struggled to make friends when I transferred schools,” (telling) you can show your emotions by writing, β€œI scanned the bustling school cafeteria, feeling more and more forlorn with each unfamiliar face. I found an empty table and ate my lunch alone" (showing).

The second example really illustrates how the writer feels, and helps you envision what it was like to be in their shoes. It's definitely more of a "storytelling" form.

If you want more examples, CollegeVine has a few Common App essay excerpts and examples in these posts:

answered on

Depends on essay seriousness if talking about why this college try to have it be a persuasive essay for a story about self like overcoming challenges try a story themed essay