Now that application essay writing is drawing near, I wanted to add a couple of general posts on the subject. This one is on telling your story. Part 2 will be on the dreaded word plagiarism.
I have one mantra whenever I work with students: Be sure to add a small story about yourself to as many essays as possible. (The one exception might be academic subject / major choice.)
To make it easy, here are the top five reasons why telling your personal story will enhance your UC chances:
You become 3-D. When you share a personal story, you give the admissions folks a glimpse into your life and what makes you tick. This will definitely help them connect with you on a deeper level and see you as more than just a person on a piece of paper. Remember, there might be a hundred other applicants with the same courses, the same grades, and similar extra-curricular experiences.
A story creates emotional resonance. When you share a personal story, you are giving people a reason to root for you or to possibly think I’d like to get to know this person better.
A story might showcase your vulnerability. This can be a powerful thing, as it enables the reader to see you as more than just a confident and capable individual. Admissions officers love to see failure and how you did not give up, or in the process, thought of an ingenious way around the setback. It is actually a strength to show you are not perfect and have faced challenges in your life.
A story makes you memorable. This is because stories are a powerful way to connect with people on an emotional level. Storytelling has been part of the human race probably since hieroglyphics.
Your story can be inspiring. When you share challenges you have faced or ways you have helped the community, you show empathy and indirectly motivate others. Almost every top tier university, private or public, puts a great deal of positive weight on giving back.