This is a question at the core of every great application: What makes you a unique and interesting person? What special qualities will you bring to this school and what separates you from the pack?
For applicants who’ve grown up in more conservative societies where conformity is prized over originality, this can be a challenge; we’ve had several applicants who’ve answered “cooking and sports” when asked for activities that separated them from the pack! Well, unless you’re cooking wild boar and going bungee jumping, that answer won’t cut it!
Don’t worry, though; here are three quick tips on how to showcase your own unique, personal qualities:
- Think of something only YOU enjoy in your peer group: poetry, interior decoration, painting, theater, a pet cause, activism. What’s the one weird thing YOU enjoy that your friends just don’t understand? Maybe you collect a lot of comic books, maybe it’s something more traditional that isn’t cool anymore like knitting. Whatever that strange little quirk is – THAT is what makes you unique.
- Be SPECIFIC and SHOW us examples. Anyone can CLAIM they have qualities but the UNIQUENESS is in the details. Don’t just say that you’re “laid back and attentive” because ANYONE can say that. Instead, say you’re a “laid back and attentive girl who loves to knit sweaters.” THEN connect those qualities to the activity – it’s relaxing, you get to spend time alone with your thoughts and it allows you to make gifts for friends. By backing up all of your qualities with examples and activities, you’ll SHOW the admissions committee how special you are.
- CONNECT it to the rest of your essay. Take our last knitting example – those special and unique qualities (calm, attentive) make our applicant the PERFECT candidate for a position as a financial analyst who’ll need to go over a lot of data. You can do this by showing us what your special activity has taught you. Something like “Knitting taught me patience and discipline, it can take me a year to finish a blanket so the long nights I spent going over the Greenberg account at Capital Banking was a piece of cake in comparison.”
- Think of something only YOU enjoy. Something that ISN’T popular.
- Be specific and show us EXAMPLES of how it’s important to YOU.
- Connect it to your career and show us how these special qualities make you who you are.
Come back next week to check out how to quantify success!
Check out the other article in this series: