College Essays

University of Virginia

PromptWe are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.

I quickly rinsed my dishes in the sink before I rushed to the desktop computer, excited to watch a new hair tutorial that was just uploaded online. Every Sunday at 7:00 p.m., my favorite YouTube channel released a new video, teaching me new ways to style hair. This was my weekly after-dinner routine, a ritual I kept up from fifth grade all the way to eighth grade. While all my friends spent their Sunday nights tuning into their favorite TV shows, I chose to spend my time watching hair tutorials. There was nothing I loved more than spending my night practicing hairstyles on myself until my arms became sore. 
As a dancer, I put my hair up into a bun on a daily basis, but often grew tired of twisting my hair back in the same manner every single day. So I began to experiment. I started doing low buns as well as high buns, attempting French twists and Dutch braids. As I improved, I started sporting some more creative hairstyles to school. My friends’ reactions varied: sometimes, they marveled at the crown braid that wrapped around my head; other times they giggled at the bow braids that framed my face. But the one constant? All of them asked me to braid their hair. 
Oftentimes, styling my friends’ hair enabled me to improve my skills, but more importantly, it gave me the opportunity to strengthen old friendships and create new ones. I don’t spend my Sunday nights watching hair tutorials anymore, but my love for styling hair is still there, a hobby that allows me to experiment with beauty in a facet that is unique to me. 

Tips for Writing:
For prompts like these that ask about qualities that are unique to you, try to think of examples that can’t apply to anyone else. For example, musical/artistic talents don’t really differentiate you as a person. Colleges want to learn more about who you are — try to think of things that will enhance a college’s understanding of you. Try to find qualities/hobbies you have that your friends don’t! Don’t start your essays at the last minute — start in the summer! Even if you think you have time, you actually don’t! School is hard senior year! 

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