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These exhausted folks, hopped up from eating too many cookies and brownies, have been sitting in committee meetings for days after spending a couple of months reading applications, most of which look pretty similar: baseball = life, or debate = life, or “I went to a developing country and discovered poor people can be happy.”They wade through long lists of candidates, state by state, region by region. But occasionally one will make an admissions officer tear down the hallway to find a colleague to whom she can say, “You have to read what this Math Olympiad girl said about ‘Hamlet.’ ” Your goal is to write an essay that makes someone fall in love with you.The best applications and the weakest don’t come to committee. Once you commit the time and emotional energy to get your butt in the chair to write, you face a daunting task — figuring out what to write about. With so much freedom, this is a challenge for most students.
Picture this before you plop yourself down in front of your computer to compose your college application essay: A winter-lit room is crammed with admissions professionals and harried faculty members who sit around a big table covered with files.
The admissions people, often young and underpaid, buzz with enthusiasm; the professors frequently pause to take off their glasses and rub their eyes.
Not everyone has faced a significant challenge at work by the time they apply for an MBA.
If the challenge you write about is farther back than that, it will need to have that much greater impact or significance.
Then, she worked to create more dynamic programming, a social media presence, and added appealing incentives for people joining or renewing membership.
Joe made a huge impact on one man, and by extension, an impact on his organization.Lori also was able to show direct and tangible impact on her group.Neither Joe nor Lori made themselves out to be heroes by describing their exhaustion because of long hours spent on their respective “projects.” They didn’t pat themselves on the back for the contributions they made.That’s fine in academic work when you’re being asked to argue in support of a position, but in a personal essay, you want to express more nuanced thinking and explore your own clashing emotions. One of my favorites from when I worked in admissions at Duke University started out, “My car and I are a lot alike.” The writer then described a car that smelled like wet dog and went from 0 to 60 in, well, it never quite got to 60.Another guy wrote about making kimchi with his mom.Gary’s workaround to his challenging situation showed boldness, initiative, and perseverance.At no time did he complain about the added workload of having to unravel this situation, or make himself sound like he had saved the day.Joe believed in Freddy’s technical skills, and felt Freddy’s shyness and lack of English fluency had hurt him.Joe took it upon himself to try to help save Freddy’s job.He just stated the facts about what he did, which spoke for themselves. “Lori” joined a community service organization whose membership was plummeting.Lori believed in the organization’s goals, volunteered to spearhead a membership drive, which was successful, and then ran for president of the organization and won.