Who I Am in 650 Words or Less

401320634dbe9fc5bab7_balbonicollegeadvising.jpg
401320634dbe9fc5bab7_balbonicollegeadvising.jpg

The Common Application released their essay questions for the 2017-2018 admissions cycle this past week so we all have essays on the brain.  This always creates a flurry of something between excitement and panic as Juniors start to peruse their choices and grapple over which prompt will allow them to most effectively brag about the impressive things they’ve done in high school.  Unfortunately, this is completely the wrong approach.

My advice to you?   Don’t bother even reading these prompts…ever.  Write your essay and then go back and decide which prompt they fit best.  Often this is prompt #1, a.k.a. “Topic of Your Choice.”

If you’re not using the essay prompts how do you know what to write about? I give whole workshops on how to brainstorm and develop an essay but if I could give one piece of advice it would be this: Just. Be. You.  Write an essay that is uniquely yours; an essay that no other college applicant could write.  Your Varsity Football team’s victory over a rival team?  Not very original.  How an inside joke with your teammates led to the creation of a poker club?  Original!  Your grandmother is the most influential person in your life? Not very original (sorry, Grandma!)  How taking a trip to a WWII memorial with your grandmother inspired a love of history and world politics?  Original! 

Sign Up for E-News

And your essay does not need to be about impressing the admissions team with your accomplishments.  They’ve got your resume, let them read that stuff there.  Some of the best essays I ever read were about completely mundane things.  Like goofing off in Physics class.  Or a PBJ.  Don’t believe me?  Google “Costco Essay,” it sort of changed the conversation around essays last spring.  The topic doesn’t need to be impressive but, as I’m sure your mom reminds you more than you’re comfortable with, you are!  Be vulnerable in your essay and do some soul-bearing.  Have the courage to get personal, to get silly, to be an imperfect teenager, because that’s who you are.  Your ability to be introspective and honest shows a maturity that no summer building homes in Mexico ever could (no matter how noble that might be!).  It’s not about what you’ve done; it’s who you are.

So take those essay topics and burn ‘em!  Start to do some journaling and brainstorming now to prepare to write the final product in a few short months.  Do whatever works for you—some free-writing, word clouds, or collages.  Maybe start keeping a list of potential topics.  When writing time comes around you want to have lots of options and ideas, not just a blank piece of paper. 

And if I haven’t said it enough already this essay needs to be 100% pure you.  Let me tell you how amazingly obvious it is when mom, dad, or writing tutor took over part or all of an essay.  You’d think it would go without saying but 45-year-old woman writes very differently than 17-year-old boy.  If you’re a “B” student that’s the essay I’m expecting and the essay you should be proud to submit.  That mediocre verbal score makes it a little less probable for you to write like Stephen Hawking.  If the grammar, mechanics, and spelling are clean I’m glad to meet you where you are, and really meet you!  If the content is there the rest is gravy. 

Good luck my little Hemmingways!  And feel free to call my office if you feel stuck!

Admissions Abridged distills news and trends from the college admissions world to provide college-bound students and their families with helpful tools to approach the application process.

Kate Balboni has earned a Master’s in School Counseling and is a certified New Jersey School Counselor.  She has served as an admissions counselor for Drew University and as a regional admissions coordinator at the University of South Carolina.  During her time in Undergraduate Admissions she has reviewed thousands of applications and student essays, conducted hundreds of student interviews, and has visited over 50 college campuses throughout the nation.  Kate is the owner of Balboni College Advising, a concierge college consulting service, providing one-on-one guidance and counseling throughout the college application process.  For more information please visit www.balbonicollegeadvising.com

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

I will draw on my experience to deliver a great future for Berkeley Heights

May 22, 2018

I am impressed with the day-to-day leadership of our Mayor and Town Council and I hope to help them continue to do great work. As I have been doing my research since deciding to run for a seat on our Town Council, I have learned a few things about all the work that has been happening in recent years.  For example, while plans for the Stratton House development were recently announced, our ...

Christopher Rinaldi for Town Council - Leadership, Judgement, Experience

My name is Christopher Rinaldi.  As a long-time member of the Republican Party, I am running in the Republican Primary on June 5th for Township Council and Republican Municipal Committee of Berkeley Heights.

As a follow-up to my Candidate Statements from the last two weeks, I would like to share with you a few areas of direct work experience garnered over the past 25 years that I believe ...

Redevelopment: Taking the First Step Together While Protecting Berkeley Heights

Redevelopment. It’s something that takes careful planning, foresight, the ability to negotiate for the most favorable outcome, and, of course, patience. I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to reach all of these milestones. Tomorrow, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, we as a community will take the first step together in the culmination of these efforts, when the ...

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...

Rain Didn't Dampen Our Vision for Art in the Park

The rain did not dampen our vision for Art in the Park!! Columbia Middle School was transformed into an art paradise, filled with an array of artists whose talents are nothing short of magical! The Peppertown Park Art in the Park Committee would like to thank all of the artists who came to our very first Art in the Park event. We are in awe of your creativity and immeasurable talents! You all ...

Taxes up, Services down.....At least someone is listening

Do you feel as if you are getting good services from the town for what you pay in property taxes? I don’t, and wanted to thank the one Council person who voted NO on this year’s municipal budget which will increase your taxes by more than 3 percent, exceeding the cap.  Thank you, Susan Poage, for listening to taxpayers.

When our Mayor grants raises by executive order ...

Host an International Exchange Student

May 21, 2018

EF High School Exchange Year announces annual search for student exchange host families in communities across the New Jersey

EF High School Exchange Year—a division of EF Education First, the World Leader in International Education—has kicked off its annual nationwide search for caring host families to welcome exchange students into their homes. Last year EF connected over 3,000 ...

Berkeley Heights Community Pool Set to Open May 26!

Tired of the rain and ready for the sun? We sure are! The Berkeley Heights Community Pool at the YMCA is slated to open during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend on May 26! With only one month until summer starts, swimmers can get a headstart jump into the pool during our pre-season opening! 

Join the Berkeley Heights Community Pool at the YMCA today—there are no joining fees, and ...

Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel Presents Special Women’s program

 

Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel, 763 Mountain Avenue, Berkeley Heights, is very pleased to host a unique free seminar for women on Saturday June 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

The speaker will be Doctor Ruth Schwertfeger of Brookfield, Wisconsin. Ruth was born in Northern Ireland, is a retired Professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She speaks several languages, and ...

Kids Can Change The World

Karen De La Maza is the founder of “Kids Can Change The World”, a program designed to instill humane values in children while developing essential life skills and positive leadership. Karen and her family relocated to NJ from her native Mexico City in 2008 for her husband’s job.

Karen has always had a strong passion for helping people in need. With ten years of experience in ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

May 16, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, May 24, 9:30 AM

Junior League of Summit Thrift Shop, Summit

Here Comes Summer! Junior League of Summit Thrift ...

Giving Back Green

Fri, May 25, 9:30 AM

Junior League of Summit Thrift Shop, Summit

Here Comes Summer! Junior League of Summit Thrift ...

Giving Back Green

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Aunt Carrie's Attic Sale

Giving Back Other

Sat, May 26, 2:00 PM

New Providence

Memoir Writing Workshops @ NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back

Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...