When it comes time to apply for your undergraduate or graduate degree, do not leave the essays to the last step. This is a big part of the application and it is a big part of how you are assessed and reviewed by the Admissions committee.
It is so important to have your voice identified - write what moves you, what impacted you, what made you you. Do not use other people’s words. Do not use other people’s story – find and identify your own story and then use that document as you move forward as your elevator pitch as what makes you you.
What does that mean for the "less than perfect" student? This means so many things and I have lots of experience crafting these essays - the student who is first in their class and who has tons of activities needs less help in my opinion than the one who was an average student (or less than average) and who did not find their "niche" in high school. A lot of people are late bloomers and do not know what they can offer to the world at the ages of 13-18; a lot of people deal with family issues or even tragic events during this time that derails them or distracts them from chemistry, biology, geometry and all of the other courses they take during their 4 years in high school.
I have already talked a bit on this blog about how to use the positives to highlight your college or graduate school application essay. I want to take a few minutes to share my thoughts on what to share / highlight if you did not do well in school. I have some quick points below but I can always be reached for more detailed help or analysis through my chat function or through any of my social media accounts, email, etc all of which are all over my site. I can help even without being hired so those who have questions on finding out more about my strategies.
What to highlight if were the less than perfect high school student:
I still remember attending the activities fair at my high school as an almost-freshman (picture it, it was Staten Island in 1990...) and while there signing up for like everything - track, drama, you name it, I signed up for it. I wound up doing student council my freshman year and then .... crickets. There were many reasons why and my application essays were quite interesting in that I knew how to document and explain that even then and of course, as many of you know, when I got to college it was a different story, entirely.
For any college to have not taken the chance on me because my high school experience was lackluster, at best, would have been sad. I feel this way for many incoming college students' today. Especially as so many families are struggling with the economy and some high school kids are expected to bring in income to help stay afloat. I feel these types of circumstances (as well as the potentially "lazy" student), still deserve a chance and with the right essay, could still get accepted to the school they want and maybe even find funding or scholarships, too.
What do you think about my advice on application essays? If you are interested in finding out more about the service I offer for application essays, click below and happy hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen