As you write your college essays, complete college interviews, and talk to admissions officers about college, it is essential to promote yourself without sounding narcissistic. We tend to equate confidence with loud behavior and constant talk about oneself. But this may reflect negatively and deter admissions officers from accepting you. It is important to be a culture fit as well as an academic fit.
You want to make sure that you stress your achievements and best qualities without sounding vain. This is also a life skill that will benefit you as you enter the professional world and start to network.
- Read and Listen
In the case of the college essay, make sure you are reading the question. In the case of interviews or conversation, make sure you are listening. It is important to make sure you are actually answering the question that is being asked and understanding the context and information you have been given. Though this is a chance for you to showcase your skills, but make sure they are relevant skills.
- Attribute Ideas Correctly
If you worked on something as a team, you should not be taking all the credit. It is unrealistic to expect that one person will be coming up with all the good ideas and doing all the work. If someone else came up with an idea, make sure you give them commendation. Then tie it back to how it led to the overall success of the group. But of course, if you had a lot of good ideas that led to the group’s success, make sure to accredit those accordingly too.
- Talk About the Impact
Talking about all the work you did is great and it sure makes you look amazing. But it also makes you look too focused on yourself. You want to explain how your work impacted your growth or someone else’s growth. All that work does not mean much if there was no positive impact or lesson learned. You want to tie your previous experiences into your future aspirations. Therefore, the impact of your current work will be instrumental in explaining how you plan to build on it.
Do not shy away from your achievements, but do not boast about them either. Give credit where credit is due and make sure you show that you worked hard to finally accomplish something (or many things). The line is hard to draw, but a couple drafts of an essay or some practice interviews will get you a lot closer to mastery.