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09/04/2019

College Essay: talking about someone else?

QUESTION
College Essay: talking about someone else?
For some of the colleges I’m applying to, they are asking me to write my essay on why I chose my major. I’m planning on majoring in music. The real reason I chose this wasn’t because of some child prodigy skills I have or anything like that, I wasn’t even that interested in music until I met a guy who I played with in band at school. He is AMAZING!! He literally is a child prodigy of the oboe, and it wasn’t until I heard him play and heard how beautiful the oboe can sound that I really became interested in music. I wasn’t sure if it would be okay to talk about him in my essay, without saying his name, of course, or if that would be bad because it is supposed to be an essay about myself? I don’t want to lie and make up an untrue story for the essay, but I’m not sure if it would be okay to say how good someone else is?

ANSWER
When you apply to college your essay is your best and only opportunity to showcase yourself- for what you are aside from grades, test scores, and clubs you may or may not have really cared about. For that reason many college admissions officers and high school guidance counselors will advise you to showcase you. However, from what I understand your essay sounds like it could be really interesting. I think you just need to be careful that you aren’t writing his college essay but refocusing on your ability to learn from others and your aspirations to be like him. You shouldn’t make something up, but maybe focus on a time that particularly inspired or encouraged you to work toward your dreams. For that matter, I don’t even think that saying his first name would be that bad.

One thing that we always talk about is the quintessential “Grandma Essay”, where, at the end, the college would love to accept the Grandmother but knows nothing about the student who wrote the essay. So, I would say make the essay about your perception of him.

Good luck with your applications and if there is anything else I can help you with; drop me a line.