In case you missed it, Brittany Stinson was recently admitted to 5 Ivy League colleges and the most selective college in the country, Stanford. She had what most applicants for those schools had–great grades, impressive test scores, solid community involvement, documented interests… but what she had that was unique was a different admissions essay.
An important part in college admissions is standing out. You need to be personable, smart, and passionate. These things are hard to show on an application that is merely a reflection of your course history and activities. The essay can set you apart.
Stinson’s essay focused on her growth and discovery–against the backdrop of Costco. She grew up visiting this massive hub of consumerism, and there her curiosity grew. She didn’t just see food, clothing, and gadgets. She saw absurd demand for massive containers of sour cream, a high-velocity accident between a shopping cart and a flat screen, and a chance to converse on old presidents while eating hot dogs. She was human. She was a person. She was showing she was just like most of the youth in this country, going to the grocery store with family, but she was different because of how those experiences shaped her.
Remember–it is important to do two things in an admissions essay: tell a story and show who you are as a person. It’s not about reciting words from a dictionary or talking about how bad you want to be a doctor. Show an admissions officer you.