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5 Websites for Inspired Storytelling

by Carol Barash, PhD, on Oct 16, 2015 11:36:00 AM

 When I’m speaking at high schools, students often ask, “What should I write my admissions essay about?”

“What do you want colleges to know about you as a person?” I respond. “Other parts of your application show your achievements. Great essays reveal what drives those achievements, what people can count on you for.”

The best way to reveal your character is through stories that show what the world looks like from your unique perspective. But getting out of the right vs. wrong game many students associate with high school takes time and patience. Learning how to reflect on which experiences are definitional, and how you’ve changed over time are not things most 17-year-olds have done a lot of.

The good news is your brain loves stories and already knows how to tell stories!

Here are three web sites where you can get a sense of the types of stories that make powerful personal essays:

  • RoadTrip Nation: Stories of first-generation college students and people they interview from all walks of life.
  • StoryCorps: Structured interviews told by and to people from all walks of life. We especially love #TheGreatListen -- a Thanksgiving weekend story fest you can join online.
  • The Moth: “True stories told live.” Download podcasts from live storytelling events in cities across the US. The Moth also trains high school students in live storytelling.

And here are two sites where you can learn about the emerging field of digital storytelling, which will become more and more important as US colleges move away from tests and transcripts as the only admissions standard, to a more multi-faceted portfolio model:

And you’ll find some of our favorite stories told by famous authors on the Story2 resources page.