The why not the what

Admissions officers do not want an “embellished résumé.” They can get what you do and how well you do it from other parts of your essay. They want to know the motivation. The values that guide you. The French call this the raison d’être, or reason for being. It’s a popular cliché these days to say that we are “human beings” not “human doings.” Your college essays are an opportunity for showing of your raison d’être, not the what. This is why we begin college essays with a time of reflection. Instead of trying to explain how great you are at the trombone, the question should be why the trombone? Why not the clarinet? The trombone is an assertive instrument. It makes its present known. Maybe the trombone is your chance to be heard clearly.

Think about it

  1. what is something you like to do?
  2. when did you start this activity?
  3. what was going on in your life when you started this activity?
  4. what does the activity say about you?

Remember: colleges essay are really about whys. 

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