In “10 Tips for Writing the College Application Essay,” Jeremy Hyman and Lynn Jacobs make several helpful suggestions, including “be vivid” and “be an individual.” However, even the most distinguished applicants worry about how to set themselves apart. I suggest the following exercise: start with a general statement about what you want to communicate in your essay, such as “I want to be a doctor because I love studying the human body.” Repeatedly ask yourself “why?” to get deeper and deeper into your own interests and motivations. For example, “Why do I love studying the human body?” Perhaps you are amazed by the human body’s ability to heal or adapt after traumatic injury. Again, ask “why?” This might lead you to reflect on your own experience overcoming a stress fracture from competitive ballroom dancing, your admiration for an athlete such as one-handed pitcher Jim Abbot, or your fascination with the potential of cord blood stem cell treatment to treat cerebral palsy. Every “why” will probably lead you to several answers, so write all of your ideas down and then choose the most personally meaningful ones. Hopefully, this line of questioning will help you understand your own goals and write more introspective and revealing sentences, such as “My interest in orthopedic surgery was inspired by the compassionate care I received from Dr. Steven Andrews after tearing my ACL and the inspiring autobiography of one-handed pitcher Jim Abbot.” If you end up with a sentence that makes me want to read more and that only you could have written, then you’ve succeeded!
To read the original column, visit: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/professors-guide/2010/09/15/10-tips-for-writing-the-college-application-essay