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Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Improving your Writing by Being Active and Involved
They say advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer but wish you didn't. I think this must feel especially true when you're a teenager. Particularly during the run-up to college.
The market is saturated with college counselors, editors, and how-to books on writing good personal statements. Like the diet industry, most students would rather take a pill than actually exercise and eat nutritious meals. It's human nature.
Unfortunately, when it comes to writing a good personal statement, no amount of editing, structuring, brainstorming, or proofreading is going to help you turn out a top-notch composition if you don't have the substance to back it up. Simply put-you need to have some experiences in order to write about them.
So the best advice I have for the high school freshman with their eyes on a good university is to be active and involved. I don't mean signing up for every club on the menu just to pad your resume. If you're ambivalent about yearbook committee, it isn't going to enrich your high school experience, and isn't going to become fertile narrative ground for an admission essay.
I'm suggesting you find something meaningful that you like to do. You cannot cobble together a good "experience" essay using handfuls of disconnected pieces. Those five times you spent an hour at the local nursing home are going to ring pretty hollow if you were just punching a clock, so to speak.
If you've truly experienced something that has changed you, it will be easy to write about it. You will have the ability to reflect, introspect and share in a way that is also meaningful to your reader. Just remember, experience can't be built overnight. So start today by opening your eyes and ears, and taking a real look around you.
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