College Essays

Common Application

Fastball down the middle. Big mistake. I drive the ball deep into the gap between right and center field, and seconds later as I slide into 3rd for a triple, I can feel a surge of confidence flow through my teammates in the dugout. A few months before this moment, if someone had told me I would go two for three with a triple and three RBIs in a sectional semifinal game, I would not have believed it. After we won, I thought about how different my life in New Jersey was from the first 16 years of my life in Illinois, how much better. In Palatine, Illinois, I was a captain on my sophomore football team and had a chance to start on varsity as a junior. I loved baseball, but I did not have a great sophomore season, and that made it difficult to feel confident about my varsity prospects. But, I’m so glad I stuck with it as I transitioned to a new school.
Although I didn’t want to move to a different state at the time it was actually happening, there were moments a couple years earlier I would have begged to move halfway across the country. When I started middle school, my grade school friends started excluding me, and it was painful. I was social, maybe even popular, but now I was just hurt and confused. Why did my best friends hate me? Why would they go out of their way to make sure I wasn’t included? I spent way too much time trying to answer these questions. Luckily, their treatment of me made it clear that I needed new friends. It was at this point in my life that I met the kids I would call my best friends throughout high school, and hopefully for the rest of my life. Funny, kind, and reliable, these guys are more than I could have asked for, and I may not have gotten to know them if my elementary school friends hadn’t treated me so poorly. This experience of making new friends taught me how to meet people at my new school in New Jersey.
New Jersey, and quite frankly anywhere, didn’t look as appealing as Illinois, by the time I reached high school. But, after the move I began to fall in love with this state. I love the beach, something I didn’t have in Illinois. Over the summer I went to Long Beach Island with some friends for a birthday celebration. Our plan was to spend all day on the beach, but this plan was soon washed away by the rain that greeted us upon arrival. Initially, my friends and I felt bummed out that the weather altered our day. So, I knew I needed to do something to not let the weekend go to waste. I found a speaker and started playing some music. I found an old ping pong table and set it up. My friends saw what I was trying to do and helped me come up with some fun games. We spent the whole day listening to music and playing ping pong and “truth or dare” (where I learned way too much information about my friends). That day was one of the best days of our lives, way better than any day spent sitting in the sand.
Moving to a new state, losing what I thought were my best friends, and inclement weather on a beach day might discourage others, but not me. I always turn what could be perceived as a difficult situation into an opportunity to grow and make things even better. My easy-going personality and my positive outlook on life are qualities that have helped me handle every unfavorable situation I encounter. As a result, I now know that moving brings new adventures, new people bring rewarding relationships, and rainy days can be more fun than sunny days.

Tips for Writing:
Write in a way that demonstrates an admirable personality trait about you. Key word: demonstrates. Instead of coming right out and saying you are the most organized person in the world and then ignoring that trait for the rest of the essay, you should write about examples that show this attribute. Your topic should be something that applies to only you. When I first wrote my essay, I talked about moving halfway through high school, but I had to start over because it wasn’t different: lots of people move. Someone else should not be able to put their name on the top of your essay. Get personal. I was reluctant to describe things about me that not even my friends knew to someone I had never met, but it will make your essay much stronger. It’s all in the details. Don’t spend time worrying about the structure or font because Common App makes every essay look the same. Spend time brainstorming ideas that make you a better applicant than the next person. Brag and leave out the negatives. The hardest part of the essay for me was including only the good information about myself, but remember: you are selling yourself to a college. You put yourself at a disadvantage if you give colleges a reason not to admit you

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