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"...what else makes you unique and colorful?" William and Mary Essay


dhizzy 4 / 16 2  
Dec 21, 2014   #1
Beyond your impressive academic credentials and extra curricular accomplishments, what else makes you unique and colorful? We know nobody fits neatly into 500 words or less, but you can provide us with some suggestion of the type of person you are. Anything goes! Inspire us, impress us, or just make us laugh. Think of this optional opportunity as show and tell by proxy and with an attitude. (500 words)

The dreaded college essay. Nothing strikes more fear into the heart of a high school senior than the 500-word root canal that is the personal statement. My guidance counselor calls it as a "glimpse into the personality"; my friends say it's an "autopsy of the soul." But that's too dramatic, and dramatic is bad, or so I'm told.

I had always envisioned sitting down one sunny fall afternoon, laptop at my desk, cup of tea in hand, typing out my essays in one smooth, methodical motion. How naïve I was. Instead of churning out a masterpiece, I panicked. I scoured the Internet in search of the one, true guide to writing an application essay, but quickly learned that no such mythological treasure existed. Without an instruction manual to follow, I scurried about like a frightened chipmunk, looking for guidance from family and friends.

"Colleges want to see how multifaceted you are and that you have interests outside of school and clubs," my mom suggested at dinner. "Tell them about how you sing and play guitar for us and how happy it makes your family," my sister added.

"Write about how focused you are on your academic passions. Tell them about your history club, and how you love to study history," said a friend during a heated game of Risk. "You're the only kid I know who thinks a manuscript library is a fun place to spend a Wednesday night."

As I took in their conflicting advice, my mind slipped deeper into the black hole of writer's block. A gravitational well had formed in my brain, sucking thoughts and ideas into an infinitely dense point of nothingness. Oops, too dramatic again. Anyways, I was thoroughly stumped.

In an effort to find inspiration, I went to my local bookstore and picked up a copy of 50 Successful Application Essays. Maybe these literary gems could guide me. For the next three weeks, I toiled away writing several 500-word essays about everything from feeding my cats to walking home from school. Each was a small part of a larger whole, but none truly captured the essence of who I was. Great. Back to square one.

"Take a break," my dad said when he found me sitting in my room, gazing blankly at my laptop screen. "Go play a game or watch something funny. Give your mind a rest."

I had tried to resist the temptation of relaxation, completely convinced myself that I needed to craft a masterpiece and that I wasn't going to stop until I had attained perfection. With slouched shoulders, I trudged downstairs to the living room and plopped onto the couch. Maybe the mundane humor of Seinfeld could divert my flustered brain.

As I was watching an episode about the main protagonists trying to sell their idea for a "show about nothing" to a TV producer, it struck me: the essay isn't a memoir about me, it's about being me. But maybe that's too ordinary, and ordinary is bad, or so I'm told.

(503 words)

I tried to be creative with this. What do you think? I would really appreciate feedback. Thanks.
acrogirl5 1 / 7 1  
Dec 21, 2014   #2
I like the writing style, like you're telling a story. It will set you apart from other applicants, and it does make you unique. However, colleges generally don't like to hear about how difficult their essays are. Everyone else applying probably found it difficult too, but they have more interesting things to talk about. Again, your imagery and story telling is great, its just generally not a great topic. I would say definitely keep the part about all of your families conflicting opinions, and keep the last sentence. It's totally okay to write about not knowing where to start or that you have a lot of weird/cool hobbies but none of them define you enough to focus an essay on them.

Hope that helped! I don't really know you so sorry I couldn't be more specific on what you should write about instead!
OP dhizzy 4 / 16 2  
Dec 21, 2014   #3
Is there anything in particular that you think I could modify to make the topic more appealing without a total overhaul?
acrogirl5 1 / 7 1  
Dec 21, 2014   #4
really just the very first paragraph about "the dreaded college essay"
i like "but that's too dramatic, and dramatic is bad, or so Im told" though so you could start with something similar, like a cliche about how if all of your unique qualities were colors, you would be a rainbow, followed by but that's too cliche and cliche is bad, or so i'm told. or something to that effect. i don't want to put words into your mouth, and i don't think you need a total overhaul, just little adjustments to the same general idea


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