Beyond The Boring Application Essay
How would you like to read through a stack of 2,000 application essays all titled “Why I Want to Go to This College”?
It’s easy to see why admissions officials are chomping at the bit to get alternatives to the traditional format. Knowing your options can help you stand out in the application slush pile.
Here are a few ideas to consider, but don’t be afraid to come up with your own approach.
Write a Song
Applying to music school? Thinking about majoring in theater? Compose a song about yourself, the school or both. If you can play an instrument while you sing, double threat!
Do a Cheer Video
Not everyone can pull off a cheer about themselves, but if can get your cheer squad to help you with a few lines while they toss you in the air or you power tumble past them, it’ll show off your creativity and your athleticism.
Read the News
Want to be the next Bob Woodward or Rachel Maddow or become the youngest cable news network reporter of all time? Write your application piece as a breaking news story, and deliver the good news of your acceptance to your viewers.
Apply in Sign Language with Subtitles
You don’t need to be hearing impaired to create a video using sign language. Perhaps you learned it because your little brother was born deaf and you wanted to communicate with him. Or maybe you took a class at the local college and fell in love with it.
Write a Poem
Quite a few students have performed raps in college application videos, but you can probably get away with a poem if it’s especially beautiful, endearing or even funny. Shakespeare costume optional.
Submit a Compilation Video
You’re an adventurer, right? Gather the best highlights of your life—videos and photos—to showcase your personality. How about the video of you skydiving for the first time? (You can edit out the part where you almost chickened out.) Or some shots of the wheelchair ramp you helped build for a retired veteran. And who can forget your junior class trip to France where you accidentally ordered a glass of water—and a bulldozer?
Write a Commercial
If you’re a quirky, creative extrovert, a commercial may be right up your alley. It can be as tame as giving a tour of the college or as crazy as an as-seen-on-TV ad. Find the perfect balance between entertaining and informational—you still must tell them a bit about yourself—and you’re as good as gold.
Of course, you can still write an essay. The trick is to find an angle that will keep the admissions reps interested from the first line until the end. But if you’re creative and have a good story to tell, you’ll have no problem making a great impression.