Making unique connections within your college essay is one of the best ways to demonstrate your core values, passions, and beliefs. Providing this "so what" in your college essay creates a dynamic story that captivates the reader and connects important aspects of your life and personality. Many students have an idea of the story they want to tell, but are unsure how to shape it into an effective college essay. By connecting your background with the things colleges look for most, you can tell your story while also showcasing the parts of you that are most desirable to your dream school.
Here are five unique connections to help inspire your college essay, and some guiding questions to get you started.
Future Career x Social Advocacy
How do your career goals align with your social advocacy? How will you incorporate social justice into your future career?
- For example: As an aspiring architect, I am acutely aware of the damage real estate often does to our planet. I hope to use my passions and talents to create and encourage green building designs that are focused on water conservation and energy efficiency.
Childhood Experiences x Extracurricular Activities
Did you have a childhood experienced that helped shape your passion for your extracurricular? Maybe you were inspired by a family member, or a personal idol. Did your childhood experience inspire you to work hard at your passion? Were the realities of pursuing that passion different from what you expected them to be as a kid?
- For example: Growing up, some of my most cherished memories were made decorating cakes and cookies with my grandmother. The more I decorated, the better my designs became, and it was my grandma who first encouraged me to start drawing and painting. Over the years, art has become my passion and creative outlet, all thanks to baking with my grandmother.
Academic Accomplishment x Qualities of a top university student
Consider writing about how the process of achieving this accomplishment taught you valuable skills that you incorporate into your academic life, and beyond.
- For example: Preparing for the robotics competition and advancing to the final round not only developed my passion for engineering, but taught me resilience, research skills, and leadership.
Volunteer work x personal growth
Did a particular volunteer experience change the way you viewed yourself or the world? Did it teach you life skills, or open your eyes to a particular issue?
- Coaching the 4th grade basketball team taught me patience, responsibility, and leadership. Aside from learning to work with kids, I also dealt with tough situations, such as handling a child that acted out, and interfering when a child was bullied.
Cultural Background x Hobbies
Do you partake in hobbies that are related to your cultural background? How do these hobbies help connect you with your heritage? Do you like to express your culture through your hobbies?
- One of my favorite things to do in my free time is cook, and I’ve been innovating dishes in the kitchen since I was a kid. Growing up with a Mexican mother and Japanese father, I have always loved cooking and eating traditional dishes from both sides of my family. My passion for creating new dishes led me to start mixing my cultures in the kitchen, inventing dishes that perfectly blend Mexican and Japanese Cuisine.
Another effective connection you can make in your college essay is connecting your main message with the school you're applying to. Illustrate how you will bring your passions and perspective to your future campus by discussing the school’s academics, initiatives, or extracurriculars.
ES.AI’s College Application Tool will not only help you make these vital connections within your own life and the school you're applying to, it will also help you to outline your essay, and revise the final product!