The Hindu (Mumbai)

Let your story shine

Writing the college essay is all about being real, authentic, and unapologet­ically you.

- Ayush Bansal The writer is Founder and CEO of iDreamCare­er.com

Abrilliant piece of storytelli­ng that is sometimes lost in the chaos of college applicatio­ns is the college essay. Yes, the scary essay that has to capture your spirit and aspiration­s in a specific number of words. But don’t worry; the art of the college essay is all about using this obstacle as a chance for personal growth.

If your life were a book, the college essay would be the one chapter where you could tell your narrative in writing. It’s not about showing off your accomplish­ments. Instead, the goal is to highlight the human behind the accomplish­ments; the resume’s hidden personalit­y.

Writing the college essay is not about sculpting the perfect superhero version of yourself. It’s about being real, authentic, and unapologet­ically you. Remember, the people reading your essay aren’t looking for flawless perfection. They’re searching for genuine connection­s and stories that they relate to and that stay in their mind.

In the mission to write the perfect essay, many forget the magic that lies in vulnerabil­ity. Share the moments when you stumbled, the times when you doubted, and the instances when you emerged stronger. It’s these raw, imperfect moments that make your narrative relatable and memorable.

Craft your story

Start with a bang! Your opening should hook the reader. Whether it’s a personal anecdote or story, a powerful quote, or a vivid descriptio­n, set the stage for your story. Remember, this is your chance to shine, so make that first impression count.

Show, don’t tell:

Instead of listing adjectives that describe you, show those qualities through personal stories and experience­s. If you’re claiming to be resilient, share a story that illustrate­s that. Let the reader see through your eyes, feel the emotions, and understand the lessons you’ve learned.

Themes that resonate:

Your essay should have a a central theme that echoes throughout. It could be about resilience, curiosity, or the transforma­tive power of a single moment. Whatever it is, let it be the compass guiding your narrative. A wellcrafte­d theme adds depth and weight to your storytelli­ng.

Accept the ordinary:

You don’t need to climb Everest or invent the next big thing to have a compelling story. Sometimes, it’s the seemingly ordinary moments that carry the most weight. Reflect on experience­s that might seem ordinary initially but hold a deeper significan­ce in shaping you.

Importance of editing:

Think of your first draft as a rough diamond; it has potential but needs polishing. Editing is where the magic happens. Trim the extra, refine your language, and ensure every word serves a purpose. Ask for feedback but, remember, the final product should still sound like you.

The journey matters

While the goal is undoubtedl­y getting into college, the college essay is also a journey of selfreflec­tion. It’s a chance to reflect on your past, acknowledg­e your present, and envision your future. Accept the process, enjoy the introspect­ion, and let it be a stepping stone toward understand­ing yourself better.

The college essay is not about conforming to expectatio­ns but about standing out by being authentica­lly you. So, when you sit down to pen that essay, remember, it’s not just about the words on the page; it’s about sharing a piece of yourself with the world. Let your story be the one that shines amid the vast sea of applicatio­ns. After all, the most compelling tales often come from the heart.

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