Essay Writing: The Likeability Factor

"Getting to Know You" (The King and I) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MNANgFCYpk

When you first meet people, you generally want to like them, right? But what makes you actually like them? Their sense of humor? Their exciting yet unexpected way of telling stories? Their fascinating background? Their easygoing charm? Well, all the same things can make an admissions officer like your essay.

Remember that whatever story you choose to tell with your essay should be told in a compelling way. How do we make our stories compelling? Often, we do this through the details.

For example, an admissions officer may yawn after reading this: "I always put a lot of work into every role I play."

But writing this would make you much more likeable: "Between homework, rehearsals, and my job as a supermarket cashier at Wegmans, I didn't have much spare time to memorize my lines, so I requested the early weekend shifts. In my downtime, I wrote my lines over and over again on blank cash register paper until I learned them by heart."

The second option is MUCH stronger because it not only proves the same point as the first sentence, but it also tells us that you have lots of responsibilities and interests and that you solve problems in a creative and unique way. Plus, it gives us the chuckle-worthy visual picture of you snatching moments to write down Laurey's cut-glass sugar bowl mini-monologue from Oklahoma! between bagging diapers, cereal, and fruit. This makes the us admire your determination and enjoy the way you convey it.

(Confession: I was the cashier in this scenario. I got so much done during those Sunday morning shifts!)

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