Your Personal Inventory: College Admissions Essay Help (page 2)
The following inventory is designed to help you mine your life for material that you can use in your essay. It will also help you catalog possible subjects, and be useful when filling out the rest of your applications. Although you probably won't use all, or even most, of the information you gather, you should be willing to explore many possibilities before narrowing down your essay topic.
To complete your personal inventory, list everything that comes to mind for each section. Remember that brainstorming is not the time to censor yourself. Don't leave out something because you think it won't work. Be as non-judgmental as possible.
- Achievements and Accomplishments
Think back to your earliest memory, and go from there. Move chronologically, cataloging events in your life until you reach the most recent one(s). Don't limit yourself to only dramatic or life-altering experiences. Spend the most time on the past few years; childhood memories rarely create a useful picture of who you are today. Use the following space to write down your ideas:
List all awards or other commendations you have received (academic, extracurricular, etc.). Also include goals you have reached or accomplished that may not have been explicitly recognized by others. What milestones have been important to you and your personal growth? What achievements are you most proud of? Use the following space to write down your ideas:
Outside of the classroom, what have you spent your time doing? These may be one-time or ongoing activities. Keep the following areas in mind (but don't limit yourself to these): sports, civic groups, travel, volunteer work, art projects, technology, and religious groups. Why did you start the activity, and, if applicable, why do you continue with it? Remember, many of these may be listed in other places on your application. Think about things you've done that are not mentioned elsewhere, or have not been given significant attention on the rest of the application. Here is where you can expand. Use the following space to write down your ideas:
Make a list of the people, events, works of art, literature, and music that have affected you. Use the following space to write down your ideas:
What are you good at? You may want to ask friends and family members to help with this. Skills may be those acquired through learning and practice, such as playing an instrument, or may include personal attributes, such as leadership or willingness to follow the road not taken. Use the following space to write down your ideas:
What makes your blood boil or your heart beat faster? Is there a sports team you follow with fervor, a book you've read many times, a topic of local, national, or global importance that gets you riled up? You may have listed these in other sections, but repeat them here because this category examines them from a different point of view. Use the following space to write down your ideas:
It might sound ordinary to you, but a story about a parent, sibling, or other relative can make a great essay. The more specific you get, the more unique this topic will become. Remember that colleges are looking for students who have the emotional maturity and stability to stay in school and excel—showing that you have a strong family base of support can do just that. Use the following space to write down your ideas:
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