How personal can you be in an essay?

2 Answers

DeEnna Holohan Points0
You should try to be EXTREMELY personal in a college essay, it should be an essay that only you can write!  But, I think the question here is implying, "should I write about very personal topics."  This subject is a delicate one.  Topics such as divorce, a mental health issue, abuse, or something else along these lines can most certainly have an impact on your life.  The question is how imperative is it that the admission committee hear about it in your application.  When a student decides to write about one of these topics the most important piece of advice I give them is in regard to tone.  When addressing a difficult issue it is very important to make sure that the tone of the essay is one of resilience.  The admission committee understands that many students have great challenges that they have faced in their lives.  But, they are reading the application to see how the student will impact their campus.  What will this student be like as a class participant, a room mate, a member of a club, a contributor to the campus as a whole.  Always think as you are writing your essay about how the information will be perceived.  I also ask my students often, when they are thinking about writing about a very personal topic, if there isn't something else that is equally unique about them that sets a more upbeat tone to present to the admission committee.
Janice Kirn-Sottilaro Points0
The college essay is a way for an admissions rep. to get to know you, beyond grades and activities. This is the one chance you have to convince them that you are worth taking a chance on, worth inviting into their halls, into their world, onto their campus. You can be very personal in the selection of a topic only careful on how you present. One of the most wonderful essays I have every read, was Bipolar and Proud; talk about personal! But the writer of this particular essay was honest in their struggles as well as their accomplishments. They spent quality words expressing not only that they were bipolar but how they had grown as a person and how they had learned to face life's challenges head on. It really was outstanding leaving a lasting impression on all that read it. Another good essay was My Plight With Height by a young woman that had been bullied throughout elementary and middle school due to her height but once in high school, decided she was tired for feeling like a victim. This particular student wrote of how she used humor to turn her life around, to laugh at the teasing, her refusal to give in to the hurtful words instead, lending support to others that were being harassed. As a result, she finished her essay with these parting words: "Can't see over me, change your seat cause I'm not going to the back of the line or class for anyone, anymore." These two examples show us how being personal can be a great way to present yourself but again, just careful in the presentation. Good Luck!

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