Please describe yourself in 350 words
I hate college essays. In approximately 350 words, I have been asked to explain myself, my likes, my dislikes and my aspirations. In 350 words, I have been asked to show I am better than another applicant. In 350 words, I have been asked to explain the life I have led and the life I hope to lead. With so few words to tell so much, I am faced with a problem: how to use these words wisely.
I could try to impress the admissions board with stories of my 13 years in the Girl Scouts. While I learned to be more selfless and enjoyed the community service, there are thousands of other Girl Scouts around the country, and Girl Scouts Guides around the world whose stories would be similar.
Would discussing my experience and leadership skills I gained from being part of my high school’s newspaper set me apart? While I discovered how to work as part of a team and got a taste of real-world journalism through job shadowing and interaction with journalists, lots of high schools have a newspaper with staffs who have similar experiences and so, again, I would not stand out.
If I talked about my love for music, and how it has changed the way I view the world, perhaps I could be defined. I could explain my love for my favorite bands and how they have prompted me to think more deeply about my surroundings, and consider things at more than face value. Fortunately for the bands I love, I am not the only fan at their concerts; hundreds of other inspired teens dance to the music with me.
On paper, it is almost impossible to tell myself apart from my peers. Although I may appear to be a stereotypical teenager, I have learned enough about myself in my 17 years to know that I am more than 350 words. I am a good friend, a hard worker and a funny person. I’d love to tell you more, but this makes 333.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.