A Message about Your College Essay: You Are More Than Your Metrics


By Michelle Brafman

That is the time of 12 months when highschool seniors and I discover one another. I’m a university essay coach, and through my first assembly with my college students, I ship the nice and unhealthy information about this endeavor.

The unhealthy information is that there are few essay subjects faculty admissions officers haven’t but encountered. The unbelievable information is that college students don’t need to have climbed Mt. Everest or invented the Submit-it observe to put in writing a surprising private assertion. The very best essays showcase an applicant’s voice.

When my college students hear their narrative voices pop for the primary time, one thing within them shifts. Magic.

Most of time, although, they want slightly warming up in an effort to let unfastened; they will’t sing via clenched enamel. The largest perpetrator of their stress? Metrics! Earlier than we start, I ask them to jot down their standardized check scores, GPA, and sophistication rank on a bit of paper. This paper I in flip toss right into a field.

Metrics do matter, to some extent. We measure cups of flour, heartbeats, and math scores for helpful functions. I inform my college students, nonetheless, that their stats are merely one a part of their tales and that presenting themselves authentically, in a university essay and in life, issues. Lots.

I inform them that in the event that they’re obsessing about their ACT scores whereas they’re drafting their essays, their writing will learn like a limp handshake.

I inform them the next:

For those who assume you might be only a quantity, you might be NOT your: SAT rating, class rank, or GPA, weighted or unweighted. You aren’t the variety of minutes you performed within the volleyball recreation, the chair you have been assigned within the faculty orchestra, or the tenth dancer who made the poms. You aren’t a digit on the size or the quantity of people that comply with you on Instagram.

You aren’t a quantity, or are you?

You’re the variety of occasions you tried out for the play and didn’t make it, the variety of minutes you observe your traces, scales, or free throws. You’re the variety of buses you will need to catch to get to high school. You’re the 55% you scored in your chemistry check and the variety of hours you sat with a instructor, good friend, or tutor to study the fabric. You’re the variety of nights you babysit or ring up burrito bowls at Chipotle in an effort to pay for faculty.

You’re infinity. You transcend numbers.

You’re the listener, the mimic, the keeper of the tales. You’re the path you hiked at the hours of darkness, terrified, however you probably did it anyway. You’re the cat or canine whisperer. You’re the household sous chef, or the prepare dinner, as a result of you need to be. You’re a dancer as a result of when the music begins, you’ve acquired to maneuver. You’re a superb good friend, aside from the time if you weren’t . . . however you realized out of your mistake and by no means did it once more. You’re the household GPS. You’re the reminder to recycle or vote or march or communicate out. You’re our future, and my God do we’d like you.

You’re the sigh of aid your mom breathes if you supply to choose up your grandmother’s prescription from the CVS or handle your youthful sibling. You aren’t the captain or the president of the no matter, however you hung posters on your good friend who ran and gained. You’ll be able to learn a room like a Harry Potter novel. You’re the glue who holds your group mission collectively. You’re the volunteer job you took to satisfy your SSL hours: the sticky hand of the little boy who wanted assist opening his juice field, the park that wanted a face elevate, the homeless one who wanted a sizzling meal. You’re your ardour for the Caps or Lin-Manuel Miranda or Kendrick Lamar. Or physics. Or Fortnite.

Let the admissions officer see you in your entirety, in your wonderful vulnerability and power.

Let your essay function a treatise about who you might be. A highway map to going through a problem. A message in a bottle that can wash ashore if you want it most. Bear in mind to open it.

Let your self see past your metrics.

You’re you. And that’s greater than sufficient.

Michelle Brafman 
Michelle Brafman is the creator of Washing the Lifeless and Bertrand Court docket, each works of fiction. In 2003, she based Yeah Write, a writing teaching enterprise, and has since been working with teenagers on their faculty essays. A PEN/Faulkner Author in Faculties creator, she has been invited to greater than 150 venues to talk about her work and the artistic course of

Be aware from the Editor: This story was initially posted on Your Teen for Dad and mom  and reposted right here with Michelle’s permission (Thanks!!). For the previous fifteen years, Michelle has been educating artistic writing programs and dealing individually with teenagers on their essays, together with many throughout the swimming group. For extra details about charges or availability, contact: E mail

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