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Learn To Tell Your Story: The Key To Successful Admissions Essays

by Jocelyn Johnson, on Nov 4, 2014 4:04:00 PM

Are you still stuck on taking the first step with your college essay? It may be easier than you think. Admissions officers want to get to know the real you—who you are as a person beyond all of the elements of your application. There's no better way to do that than using your essay to tell a story in your own voice.

Here's how:

 

 

“You reveal a part of your experience, you draw on the other person’s memories and there’s a shared connection. [...] You can be vulnerable, but also safe, because the other person’s going to get it.”


When you tell a story, it ignites a process called “Mental Mirroring” and three things happen:

1.  Your story will spark the listener’s memories.
2.  Those memories will activate the associated emotions (allowing the listener to experience the moment with you.
3.  Those emotions connect you to the lister and prime them to take action on your behalf.

But mental mirroring only happens when you put the reader in the moment and allow them to experience it from your perspective through details, description, and  dialogue. When you use interpretations, generalizations, cliches, or summaries, the process of mental mirroring breaks down. So how can you write a meaningful essay?  Follow this simple guide:

Tell the stories you can tell.
Tell the stories only you can tell.
Tell them as only you can tell them.

Use our resources for a Guide To Writing Common App Essays.

Topics:High School and College

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