9 months ago
Admissions Advice

How do I pick a prompt that will allow me to stand out when I have nothing interesting to talk about in my life?

I am a senior

I am applying through the My Coalition app. I have no idea how to write my personal statement to show admissions that I am more than my application. I have many ideas on each prompt and have no idea which one is best. They say the personal statement counts for most of your application so that added pressure gets to me too

I am considering writing about my faith, will this be a good idea or is it too generic?

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@RebekahL9 months ago

What faith are you referring to? Faith in what?

@DebaterMAX9 months ago

I think OP means his/her religion

@RebekahL9 months ago

Oh, okay, Thanks

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
9 months ago

This is a question a lot of applicants struggle with when they first set out on the college admissions journey, and that means there are several different approaches you could take depending on what is going to work for you. Before getting into more specific strategies, I want to say that even though most people don't feel that something truly special and worth discussing has happened to them, there is always something personal to build an essay around. Often, the best essays come from topics that appear mundane to the writer but compelling to an audience precisely because it's such a big part of the applicant's life that they take it for granted.

In terms of actually tackling the essay, the first thing I recommend doing is putting the prompts aside for a moment. Instead, start by thinking of (and jotting down) the answers to some basic questions about yourself -- what is your favorite extracurricular activity? What is your most meaningful community service? What achievement are you most proud of? Which community of yours are you most invested in? -- and then asking yourself the follow-up questions to flesh out the details. From there, try to think of one or more illustrative anecdotes that will help you demonstrate something important or fundamental to who you are in a captivating way (that family is the most important thing in your life, that you are on a journey to adulthood, etc.).

Personally, I encourage you to think more on hobbies or activities that wouldn't appear elsewhere on your application. For example if you do some kind of art just for fun or if there's a place that's special to you, that could be a starting point that lets a reader see an intimate side of you that isn't represented elsewhere. As a note on your potential topic, if you choose to write about your faith, I urge you to explore your unique personal relationship with religion or spirituality. Yes, it may be a generally common topic, but if you have a distinctive way of interacting with your faith, if it has shaped you in a way that is not or is beyond the typical expectation, you have the opportunity to write an intensely personal and uncommon essay. The lessons you take and the anecdotes you choose have the power to take a somewhat generic base subject and elevate it.

Regarding added pressure you may be feeling, it's important to realize that the application review process is holistic; no one portion of your application is going to be "most" of your application. That said, you should obviously put your best foot forward and make the personal statement as strong as possible, but don't stress yourself out unduly because you think this one essay is make-or-break. All told, the best thing you can do is be your authentic self and convey your individual voice -- let the readers get to know and feel a connection with YOU!

9 months ago

Hi there,

I definitely think that your idea of writing about your faith could be really impactful. It also depends on which prompt you answer, for instance, if you went through some hardship during your high school career, you could talk about how your faith carried you through it. I definitely do not think that admissions counselors are going to discount your essay if you choose to write about your faith, because that is a deeply personal thing, and extremely unique to each person. You could also connect your essay on your faith to what you want to do for your major or what you are planning to do in the future.

I hope that helped you! Please let me know if you have any further questions, and have a wonderful day!


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