How To Sell Yourself In Your Essay

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Empowerly Team
Empowerly Team

Our collaborative team of content writers and researchers stay up-to-date on the latest news to help you ace your applications. We hope you enjoy the blog.

College admissions is a bit like marketing. You want to showcase your best self. Sometimes, that’s a little difficult to do — especially if you’re more into the service part and not the ‘public’ part. It can be uncomfortable to feel like you are boasting about yourself. Here are a few tips on how to channel your inner rockstar, and sell yourself in your essay without sounding like a braggart.

1. Use Action Verbs

Here’s a helpful list. Now, scan your resume/essays. Are you being passive? Using the same boring words? Action-ize.

2. Number-ize

Following #2, make sure you couple your action verbs with “numbers”.

For example, take this sentence: “Spearheaded a fundraiser for Pencils4Hope.”

Transform it: “Spearheaded a fundraiser for Pencils4Hope, raising 32,000 to help build 4 schools.”

3. Impact, not Responsibilities

There is nothing more boring than someone who just lists all their responsibilities without conveying the actual impact and scope of your efforts. Make sure to not just list your duties, but how the activity demonstrated impact.

4. Find the ‘Special’ 

Write a bio about yourself. Seriously. Create your own headline, your caption. If you were to be a guest on CNN today, what would your chyron say? “Author, Novelist, etc?” “Famed Neurosurgeon”? Craft one sentence that perfectly captures your narrative and story. It’s difficult to do, but once you narrow it down, you’ll have a much clearer idea of where you’re headed and what makes you *unique*.

5. Build your confidence

Easier said than done. But college admissions is a lot like dating or rocking a job interview – you want to project your most confident self. When you’re in high school, sometimes it can feel like you’re floundering in a sea of tests, papers, sports, activities, etc. and it can be hard to really focus and hone in on your talents. You don’t need to have it all figured out for college – but you do need to walk in knowing your strengths, passions, and most of all, display intellectual curiosity. Knowing who you are could be one of your greatest strengths and set you apart from your peers.  I suggest taking a few minutes to engage in this super quick, easy peasy brainstorming exercise.

List your 3 greatest strengths

From this, you can start to build your story around your strengths, talents and skills.

Other things you can do:

  • Brainstorming exercises
  • Journaling
  • Practicing Mindfulness

Most of all, remember that this is literally your time to shine. It’s okay to sell yourself in your essay, because that’s how colleges will get to know you. As long as you don’t make any untrue statements or put others down, it’s good to celebrate your achievements. If you need more advice on how to frame yourself as a candidate for college admissions, make sure to reach out to an Empowerly counselor!

Questions? Let us know!