Present Your Most Positive Qualities and Characteristics

Private school application essays are critically important to the admission process. Students should take a great deal of care in constructing essays that are grammatically correct, error-free, and that represent mature and admirable perspectives. Many questions are consistent from school to school. For example, most schools ask, “Why us?” Other questions ask about a student’s most important accomplishment, or to describe herself using a specific number of adjectives. Still other questions ask students to comment on world issues, priorities and values, or favorite things.

Write with Maturity and Sincerity

While honesty is always the best policy, it is helpful for students to think about their answers from the perspective of the schools to which they are applying. If the student’s favorite activity is playing video games until late in the evening at the expense of homework, she should think twice about including it in her essay. Similarly, if she is impatient or easily agitated, she may want to avoid those adjectives in describing herself. Certainly, it would be possible to come up with better words to describe some of her most significant qualities!

Overall, students should present themselves as mature individuals with admirable qualities, and who care about others as much as they care about themselves. When presented with a question about the accomplishments of which they are proudest, they should write about activities that have helped others as opposed to activities that they have done for self-satisfaction. Of course, this is not to say that they should not write about great personal accomplishments such as scoring the winning goal or being elected class president. These too are admirable accomplishments.  However, they should be judicious in their self-praise, give credit to others, and discuss activities that have benefited others. Being honest is also important, because insincerity is relatively easy to detect. They certainly do not want to present themselves in the light of false sincerity. They should write about the things they care about most, and discuss the things that they are passionate about.

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