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College Essay: Highlight Your Strengths

Highlight Your Strengths in Your College EssayThere are so few slots in a college, if you consider the sheer number of high school seniors that want those slots. The competition can be fierce, especially if the financial aid packages offered by that particular college are generous.

There are too many early achievers out there for you to rely only on your good grades to get you in the best colleges. What can you do to stand out? One way is to write a college application essay that can sway an admissions officer to put you on the short list of potential students for your chosen college.

Here are some of the things you can write about in your essay.

Your Leadership Potential

When you write your essay, always make sure you mention your leadership potential. If you notice, most schools are proudest of their alumni that did well in their chosen fields. Some schools go as far as to mention their list of prestigious alumni whenever they can. Colleges are eager to admit students that can become industry leaders in the future.

How can you prove that you have leadership potential? Mention activities that put you in a leadership role. If you’ve never been in a position to lead, mention the things you did for your group that made a difference. Volunteer work experiences are great for this purpose. They tell of your willingness to use your talents to help others. A magnanimous spirit is one of the tell-tale signs of a great leader.

Your Ability to Commit

Anyone can start a project, but it takes a committed person to follow it through. Mention experiences that you committed to for the long term. If you’ve been a core member in an organization or club in your high school, make sure you mention your role in the success of the club. Mention projects that you stuck with until completion. A strong determination to do well despite distractions is one of the main things that any college looks for in their new students.

Turning Points

Inspiring experiences, life realizations and epiphanies should be mentioned, with a whole paragraph of supporting data to back them up. Insightful essays always stand out because some of your peers would simply fill the page with an enumeration of achievements that tell little of their true intellectual prowess. Inject humor sparingly, and always remember that the person reading your essay is looking for depth and insight.

If you have a motto or a guiding principle, you should mention that, too. But make sure you explain why you use that line as your personal statement. For instance, you can mention an unforgettable experience and your realizations after that experience.

What About Your Weak Points?

Use the 500-word essay to sell your strongest points, but the college application form may ask you to list your weaknesses. If one question asks you to mention a weak point, be honest. But follow it up with something that can counterbalance the weakness and turn it into a strength. Citing a weakness shows that you’re aware of your limitations, and you have a clear plan on how to overcome them.

Spend a weekend for introspection, and discuss your strengths with a mentor.

Photo Courtesy of BIGSTOCK

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Ruby Grace
Written by Ruby Grace

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