"Making Things Up Again": What NOT to do in Your College Essay

I'd love to be blonde and tall and beautiful and icy and German like Heidi Klum.

Unfortunately, I am none of these things. And my writing should reflect that. Why? Well, setting aside the huge ethical issues involved with lying, a major reason

you shouldn't make things up in your college essay is because you won't sound authentic


We generally gravitate toward authentic people. Think about it. Don't you have a friend who is cool and funny without trying to be cool or funny? She might show up to school wearing a

Dylan McKay-style baja

, but nobody would bother her about it because she somehow makes that hideous 90's top look trendy. She owns who she is, and people want to be friends with her because of it. She is authentic.

How can you be authentic in your essay? Write honestly about your experiences: don't make them up. I can't write about what it's like to be tall because I've never experienced it. But I can write pages about struggling to see when I'm the shortest person at a concert. Or being the shortest girl in class every single year. Or about my gym teachers taking pity on me and letting me shoot the basketball from my own personal free throw line because I was too short to make it from the regular free throw line. And all of that is way more interesting than guessing what it's like to be tall.

So don't feel pressured to make up a story about being adopted or having cancer or growing up on the wrong side of town. You may not believe it, but sharing a story about your real life will be way more engaging and authentic than anything you can dream up. So don't be Elder Cunningham in

The Book of Mormon

. Be authentic. Be genuine. Be YOU!

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South Park

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