College Essays

University of Michigan

Prompt: If you could only do one of the activities you have listed in the Activities section of your Common Application, which one would you keep doing? Why? (150)

In the words of Alex Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place, “I like to poke things with a stick.” The things I like to poke are opponents, and the stick I use is an epée. For the past six years, fencing has consistently been an outlet for me to release any stress I have. All my frustrations disappear as I tie my shoes, pull down my mask, and step onto the strip.
From “steal the bacon” exercises to target practice, I have learned to balance having fun and working hard. From stretching with my teammates to shaking my opponent’s hand after a difficult 13-15 loss, I have experienced collaboration as well as turning failure into success. From keeping me in shape to allowing me to freeze time and momentarily step away from any problems I may be facing, fencing is the activity I would choose over any other.
Tips for Writing:
I’m sure you’ve already heard this, but it is super important to find something unique about yourself. Brainstorming ideas is a crucial step in this process because it will allow you to fully explore every option without getting too attached to any one idea. Additionally, choosing which prompt you would like to respond to, when given the option, can be difficult, but it is important to chose a topic you are passionate about. The question you decide to answer should be one that you can discuss effortlessly. It is important to truly express yourself and portray your personality through these essays; definitely don’t try to just write what you think colleges want to hear because they want to see who you really are. Finally, giving yourself enough time to write everything is key since editing takes a long time—even longer than writing does in most cases. Start early and don’t procrastinate in order to do yourself and your essay justice. Have fun with the process—it’s stressful, but it will pay off eventually!

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