Perfect isn’t believable
Even Olympic Champions have their weaknesses: your college essay may be only as believable as yours.
Take a step back and look at your intentions for your admissions essay: are you trying to be, to sound, perfect? So that the admissions committee will have not a shred of doubt about bringing you to their school?
Actually, your humanity is far more believable and appealing if you admit (so to speak) to knowing your weaknesses. Lately, I’ve been getting great lessons in this from reading about gymnast Simone Biles. She’s so inarguably tremendous, yet flawed just like the rest of us.
Include your flaws because you’re a character now
Simone Biles is considered “the best gymnast in the world”; but she’s also a teenager. As perfect as her gymnastics is, her humanity is evident. We can point to so-called imperfect traits (I culled these from recent journalism). She’s afraid of bees. She won’t quite call the guy she’s seeing her “boyfriend.” But she can land dazzling, nearly impossible jumps that would have the rest of us in the emergency room, or worse.
My point should be your point: Take a good look at not only what makes you a super star (each of us can get a gold in something), but also what weakness makes you believable as a character.
I’ll tell you if you tell me…or, let’s both tell everybody!
We know it can feel like dicey terrain to admit to weaknesses when stakes are high.
At Essay Intensive, we practice what we preach, so here goes: I get really territorial around vegetables. I need a lot of them in my fridge at any one time to be safe and comfortable. I need at least half my plate to be taken up by vegetables. I’m lucky to have access to them. I get all squirmy when a meal is served without enough of them.
Oh, and will I lose cred in your eyes if I tell you I often get long division incorrect? Or come up with two different answers to the same problem? Or that I went bald from thinking too hard trying to do basic algebra? So be it. This is me.
This doesn’t change the fact that I can write, or make me any less good at helping you learn to write better, full human that you are.
We are all in this together.
Need to know if your essay draft is believable?
If it reads too perfectly, our baby is happy to mess it up for you.
We’re only half-kidding.
Reach out for our online and electronic support. We love reading your drafts and trying to poke holes in them that let the (your!) believable light come through.
PSA: If you’re keen on being obsessed with Simone Biles too, here’s fodder. But just don’t let it distract you from your hard work on your college essay…
And if you’re going the nerdy personal essay route, read from personal essay guru Philip Lopate on turning yourself into a character.” It’s so good you’ll wince. (And if that link expires, just buy or borrow his instructional book, To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Non-fiction.)