There are some common mistakes made by college applicants with dreams of getting into college when writing their college admission essay. As a former recruiter for Yale University, I remember the reactions from admissions officers as they read a good college essay versus an average one. I would say that there are six mistakes that are the most common and potentially the most deadly to college applicants when trying to come up with college essay ideas during the college admission process. One mistake I saw was: only focusing on achievements.
Many people are ashamed of the challenges they face, and some label them as "failures". I want to encourage you to view your beginnings as obstacles that you overcame despite the odds. Believe me, someone coming from a public school with vary few Ivy League grads will stand out over someone from a prep school, despite what you may think. This is not to say that the odds are not against someone from the "outside", so to speak, and with someone whose family came over on the Mayflower (willingly) and every generation attended HYP’s (Harvard, Yale, or Princeton), but believe me, those who know how to fight the good fight, are usually the ones who win. The one’s who know how to fight tend to be successful leaders, and Admissions knows that good leaders can become good donors, even if it takes a few years. Also, good leaders tend to get good publicity, which also reflects well on the alma mater. Think about some recent Presidents of the United States, who was more popular with the media and the general public, the silver spoons or the ones who worked their way up from the bottom? This is not to say that there aren’t legacy kids who go on to do amazing things, but the stories just aren’t as interesting and newsworthy are they?
Basically, I know how it feels to not want to stand out like a sore thumb, especially when you are a teenager and all you want to do is fit in and be accepted (yes, even the "outcasts" are still in groups and still seek acceptance on one level, even if they do not want to admit it). I just want you to know that the older I get, the more I realize that what I think makes me different is exactly what makes me connect to other people and others become attracted to me. Do not be afraid to admit that you struggled with a subject, extracurricular activity, family situation, economic circumstances, especially if you managed to excel after much hard work. Believe me, your persistence and perseverance will not only benefit you in the admissions process, but in life in general. Take pride in overcoming your hardships.