What if somebody doesn't like my cause? Or religion? Or hobby? Or nationality? Or height?
I can't believe how many times clients have said to me, "But what if the adcom doesn't like _________ [fill-in-the-blank: tennis players, Iranians, Christians, Republicans, other].
I'll tell you something. I can guarantee that somebody somewhere won't like something that is important to you. Does that mean you shouldn't write about it?
Except for criminal pursuits, your distinctive interests, special experiences, and background distinguish you from your competition. Those singular passions tell the admissions committees that you can contribute a unique perspective to your class. Leaving out those exceptional elements from your essay and application may mean that you don't trigger a mildly negative reaction in a few individuals who "don't like" whatever it is you are writing about. The omission will also ensure that your essay(s), personality, and individual viewpoint blur into the great, gray mass of blob-like applicants. Far more damaging. Completely counter-productive.
Bring out your distinct values, causes, and motivations by discussing your initiatives and accomplishments in different arenas. I do, however, have one caveat: No soapboxes please. Don't preach to the adcoms. Liked this tip? The above tip and many, many more can be found in Submit a Stellar Application: 42 Terrific Tips to Help You Get Accepted.
About The Author
Linda Abraham, Accepted.com's founder and president, has helped thousands of applicants develop successful admissions strategies and craft distinctive essays. In addition to advising clients and managing Accepted.com, she has written and lectured extensively on admissions. The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, and BusinessWeek are among the publications that have sought Linda's expertise.
Reprint of this article is only permitted when reprinted in its entirety with the above bio.
This article was posted on January 31, 2005