What do you do when you want to learn about a cool person you met at the state meet, get the scoop on the new teacher at your school, or figure out how to use a word you don’t understand?
Do you Google it?
What if you want to find out more about yourself? Can you Google yourself to get subject ideas for your college admissions essay? Sorry; the answer is no. You will need to work a little harder to find your story because it is stored in your brain. There is only one way to get it out of there: brainstorming.
No matter the prompt, your essay offers an opportunity for you to share something that happened to you, then demonstrate why it matters. Consider the first question on the Common Application: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
Here are some questions to help you brainstorm and start generating ideas:
1) Think about a time when your relationship with a friend or family member changed, deepened or ended. What happened? How did this change you? What did you do? How are you different today? How has that change affected your life?
2) Describe a time when you learned something meaningful about yourself. What experience led to this insight? What did you do with the information? How have you continued to apply that insight in your life? How has this changed you?
3) Discuss a time when you surprised yourself with your ability to accomplish something. What did you think would happen? What ended up happening? Were you surprised? Why? How have you applied what you learned?
Once you have an idea (or several), get writing. You might be surprised by what you decide to include in your essay.
Kim Lifton is a partner at Wow Writing Workshop. If you need help brainstorming ideas, contact Wow. Wow also offers essay reviews, private consults and writing classes; the next Wow Them With Your College Essay class is Sept. 19. Stay tuned ... Wow is about to launch a new online tool developed to make college essay writing easier!