So while I am applying to colleges, how brutally honest can I be with my essay ?
If something stark and bold yet considered inappropriate to speak of has shaped my personality, can I go ahead and be frank about it or should find something else to talk about ?
Pallavid, admission officers are always looking for those exceptional students who have managed to overcome obstacles and adversity in life. If you feel that this particular incident / event in your life helps you to fall into that criteria then use it with caution. However, you should also consider what the essay prompt is and reflect upon whether this is really something that you would be comfortable letting complete strangers (from the admission officer to the admissions committee) know about you. Remember, you are dealing with mature subject matter that could backfire in your application if presented without great care and consideration. So if I were you, I would outline the essay first and choose the points that I would feel comfortable with disclosing in public. After that, I would draft the essay and have someone who is familiar with what happened to me, and is supportive of me read the essay and ask them if they feel that I have carefully presented my situation and the lessons I learned from it. If the answer is yes, then go ahead and submit it. If not, adjust the way you are telling the story until you get it just the way you like it.
Think of it this way, if you would feel uncomfortable posting the essay here for our review and comments, you still need to work on the content, theme, and presentation of the essay. The minute you feel like you can have strangers read your paper and still feel good about it, then you have the paper right where you want and need it to be. You don't need to be brutally honest in your essay. you can use metaphors in order to tell your story if you wish. The method by which you share your quest is a decision only you can make. So choose wisely and carefully. Remember, you have your future riding on that essay so you should not take any chances in writing it. If you feel it will catch the admissions officer's attention and totally satisfy the required prompts then go ahead and write about it :-)