Welcome to the CommonApp.



You’re immediately forced to reduce yourself down to some numbers, your exracurriculars and some essays, which, in the best of cases, accurately discribe a tiny slice of your character. The college wont get to ‘know you’, there’s not enough time, so it gets to know ‘your facts’. The problem is that these facts dont represent you, and you don’t even know for sure which ones are good or bad, which ones may help or hinder your chances! Some people end up exagerating the truth because of this, but only to conform to a standard they THINK is the right one.

Everyone has a corresponding set of facts about themselves, and whether or not they are prized by the university is mostly unknown. It can feel quite arbitrary at times.
I struggled to reduce myself to my facts. Their questions are never adequate and you’re left wondering: “Is that thing I do with my friend at school on a semi-regular basis considered an extracurricular?”. “Should I mention that I’m gay or that my parents are divorced?”. You struggle to figure out what is relevant, and what you should brush under the rug. You’re encouraged endlessly to”write about what you’re passionate about!”, but what if you feel that it doesn’t set you appart? Maybe you just really love your mother and spend lots of time with her after school, going on walks or cooking together.
I feel that the reason people read blogs like this is that they want to know what the shadowy admissions guys want, so they know which direction to point their application, which side of themselves to show (I know I definitely did this). The thing is, there’s no way to know anything for sure. I didn’t get a call from my admissions councellor, but even if they told me why they thought I was a good candidate, it in no way applies to anyone else. 
If I can provide one word of advice, it’s this: just write about everything you can that’s true, if it is relevant or not, even if you think it may hinder your chances. I don’t know if that will increase your chances or not, but you can feel honest about yourself and stop worrying.
And then if you’re accepted, it might be a bit clearer to you why.
We got into this great university, and we know how (essays and tests and forms…), but we don’t know why it is we were chosen instead of the millions of other genuine and interesting people.
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