I’ve never visited a high-end tailor (though side note, my birthday is coming up in a short 11 months), yet as college application season rolls around, I often think the challenges we face here at LogicPrep helping students craft their 650-word Common App essays are similar to those a high-end tailor faces.
On one level it’s as simple as: how will this essay help make the student look awesome? What personal (fashion) statement will highlight what makes each student unique and get them noticed on the "red carpet" of admissions rooms? Just as there are limitless ways a person can look good, there are an endless number of ways an essay can reveal personality. Some people’s might be splashy, some might be understated. All should feel true to them.
The deeper question this image leads me to is: does this essay make the student feel awesome? Just as wearing a favorite outfit to a party, the main essay should make the applicant feel great. A sense of confidence with a personally-tailored essay will feel palpable on the page. It’s a great energy for an application to exude.
I’m always shocked when I hear people suggest there are magic templates for how to develop a Common App essay. I never think that because in my heart I know it doesn’t work that way. To stand out, you need something truly specific, authentic, personal - something truly right for you.
Which does lead to the key difference in this metaphor: unlike a designer, at the end of the day we at LogicPrep don’t sew the outfit. We teach the student to sew it for themselves. And frankly, this is my favorite thing about what I do as an essay coach. Because in the developing of a personal statement, we are helping create more than just one metaphorical outfit for one very real event – we are giving each student a new way of looking at him or herself, a new way to feel confident in who they are and where they are headed.
And that’s a suit of clothes that looks good in any room.