How to Write an Essay About Yourself: College App Introductions

A student holding the letter H, spelling out "hello."Wondering how to write an essay about yourself? Many college-bound students do. A college application essay is often seen by students as a chance to introduce themselves to the college admissions department. However, it’s time to start seeing it a bit differently. While a college essay definitely introduces you to whoever is reading your piece, it should definitely take it a step further. Here’s why.

You Only Have So Many Words

Many college essay requirements have word limits on them. They may be 500 words, or 1,000, or as little as 200. You don’t want to waste time stating information that doesn’t need to be known or doesn’t make a lasting impression. Your essay will only have so much time to stand out among the crowd.

Your essay should say something different about you, instead of a “Hi, my name is Hilary Cairns. I want to attend your school to be a writer. I graduated from Valley Central High School… etc…” Spend your words wisely.

Your App Will Have Included a Lot of This Info

When going the route of introducing yourself to the college admissions department, you probably will end up being a bit redundant. It’s a good chance your college application already includes a lot of the things that would fall under the category of “introducing yourself.”

You don’t want to repeat exactly what’s in your application and you definitely don’t want your essay to sound more like a resume or a cover letter. The admissions department already knows this information about you. Your piece should include something new about yourself.

College Admissions Officers Want To Read Something Different

Introductory essays tend to be a bit cliché for many college admissions departments. They read several of these, again and again, every year. They don’t want to read a formulaic essay. Instead, your college essay should show exactly what makes you unique. What could you bring to the school? What makes you different than the hundreds of others applying? Why are you interested in the college and particular major?

You also don’t want to come off as a robot, reading off the script, or write only in vague sentences. It’s time to put personality into your writing and make a lasting impression on the reader. It’s okay to show emotions in your piece. You want to come off as authentic and give the college real insight into who you are.

A college essay is absolutely a way to introduce yourself to the college, but it shouldn’t be taken so literally. Rewriting your application in the form of an essay is a waste of valuable time, for both you and the college admissions officer. Instead, focus on a unique way to introduce yourself. How can you stand out among the crowd? It may be a story about a moment that moved you, a life-changing event, or something else that is precious or memorable to you. Remember to stay on topic with what the college is looking for in the essay as well. If you’re unsure about your approach, seek outside help, like from your high school guidance counselor.

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