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9 months ago
Admissions Advice

Common App Personal Essay - Anecdote(s) from youth

I assume it is ok to write personal essay about a couple anecdotes in my youth that point out traits about me apparent even when young (how I used them when I was younger) and how I've adapted them now that I'm older.

It's not writing about why I'm going to college or why a specific major or why a certain EC so I don't know if those would be better. But it feels like it might be novel enough for an admissions officer who is having to read a lot of similar essays. I just want to make sure I'm not making a major mistake.

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3 answers

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9 months ago

I think this topic would be fine, as long as you focus more on who you are now. We generally discourage people from writing about things before high school, but if those experiences aren't the focus of the essay, that's totally fine. I wouldn't say this topic is a cliche, so I wouldn't worry about that.

The key to a strong essay is to share your personality and use vivid storytelling. We have this post that may help: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-the-common-application-essays-2020-2021/

Let me know if you have more questions! Once you're done with the essay, feel free to use our Peer Review tool to get feedback on it.

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9 months ago

While some people write about why they want to go to college or what their aspirations are, you can always show that through the supplemental essays. So, I wouldn't worry about not mentioning your career goals or why you want to go to college. As long as you can connect your anecdotes to a realization/growth that's unique to you(something only you could say) it would be a great essay.

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9 months ago

That sounds like a great idea! They mostly care about your character for the personal essay---they want to get to know you. It seems like your plan does that in a creative way, so go for it!

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