Describe Essay Yourself

I’m writing this to the soundtrack of Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE,” off his wildly popular DAMN. album that came out this past spring. I cannot tell you how many tweets I saw from 18-year-olds right after the album dropped repeating this anthem’s chorus, “sit down, be humble.”

Early 2000s kids, aka those filling out the Common Application this fall, have a pretty funky paradigm when it comes to how big the ego should be. Generation Z falls right behind us Millennials, who have been criticized for being overly encouraged as kids. If Millennials are getting a bad rep for loving the participation trophy and being way too self-confident, what’s a Generation Z-er to do when it comes to trying to sell themselves to colleges?

Listen up, Generation Z. Take it from a so-called self-obsessed Millennial herself: a place between humble and prideful exists, and that’s the exact place you want to reach in your college application essays. Here are five “what ifs?” of college essay humble-bragging and what to do about each of them.

Related:How to Write a Great College Application Essay

If you’re afraid of bragging...

College essays are about selling yourself. If you were selling a pen, you would definitely want to talk to your buyer about the pen’s high-quality ink, super-comfy grip, and trendy appearance. You would never leave any of those amazing pen attributes out because you want the buyer to want the pen. When writing your college essays, think of yourself as the pen. Never, ever leave out something great about yourself because you are afraid of bragging. College essays are the only time you get to talk about all of the wonderful things that make you you without anyone judging you for it. So take advantage!

If you want to come off as confident…

Showing confidence in your college essays might sound tricky, but with the right anecdotes, you can fully achieve that confident aura without literally saying, “I’m confident!” If you’re passionate about something unique that you might not have mentioned in your college app thus far, write about it in the essay. Talk about the time you did an underground production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show even though you didn’t know anyone else auditioning for it. If you thought becoming a ventriloquist as a kid was really cool and eventually gave it a shot, write about it. The best way to sound confident without outright telling the reader so in your essay is to write a story that shows you are confident. That will be more than enough to sell them on you.

If you think you might sound full of yourself…

The “show, don’t tell” rule of writing applies in college essays too. For example, if you are writing an essay about your summer job, never say, “I was the best employee at the grocery store.” Rather, show that you were a great employee by telling a story about the time you caught a shoplifter or exhibited great customer service. You never need to tell the reader you are superior or the best in any way if you can show them instead.

If you feel the need to tell the reader your credentials....

There is a whole other section of the Common App where you list the leadership roles you’ve had and the awards you’ve won. You don’t need to mention them again in the essay portion unless the story you’re telling calls for it. Say you are writing an essay about the time you won a particularly interesting debate for your high school debate team—you can write about your accomplishment without sounding cocky. For instance, rather than saying “I was the best debater on my team, which is why I am captain,” you could talk about the reason you are so passionate about whatever topic you debated that day.

The place for competing with what you’ve done in high school is in the rest of the Common App. The place for letting the college know who you are and what you’d be bringing to the college’s community as a person is in the essay. The best way to make yourself more competitive in the essay portion of your application is to write an essay that describes exactly who you are on a day-to-day basis rather than talking about your achievements. There are a few colleges famous for requesting applicants to pick one of their friends and have that friend write an essay about said applicant. While that type of essay might sound pretty nerve-wracking, the takeaway from the prompt is that colleges want to know what someone you hang around all the time thinks of you. Ultimately, a university is looking for a great addition to their campus, and in the case of writing a portrait of your personality in an essay, you should never have to brag, and you should have a lot of reasons to be confident in who you are.

Ultimately, the college essay is all about balance. Don’t tell the reader how great you are—show them instead. Admission officers will rarely be turned off by an applicant who wrote a great story about something wonderful they did, but they might find it a little off-putting if you call it wonderful yourself.

Looking for more college essay tips? Check out our Application Essay Clinic.

How to Write Essay Describing Yourself

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Self descriptive essays or personal essays are papers that are written to describe the author. This essay is going to focus on How to Write Essay Describing Yourself. such essays can be difficult to write if not organized because of the immense knowledge the writer has on himself or herself (Baker et al., 2013). However they can also be easy and fun if prepared and properly organized. As with almost all essays, self descriptive essays are divided into introduction, a body of three paragraphs and a conclusion.

When instructed to write an essay describing yourself, so many things come to your mind and you already know what you want to write. However, you should be careful not to come out too strong or too weak. Therefore, the following tips and steps will help you describe yourself in the right way:

  • Preliminaries Before Writing

At this stage, brainstorming about the things to write about is important, for example family, friends, career, hobbies to mention but a few. You can also make a list of strengths and weaknesses (Baker et al., 2013).  However you should avoid dwelling on the negative events. The essay should try as much as possible to maintain a balanced or positive outlook of your life. This should then be followed by subcategories under those topics; a topic like hobbies can be broken down into playing guitar, singing, cooking, swimming, surfing among others. Once these have been broken down, identify the most unique or peculiar experience that is worth talking about-something that happened that you feel you would like to share with others. This will also need to be arranged chronologically.

Starting with a hook in this first section is very important. This is a statement that will capture the attention of the reader and create a thirst or curiosity to read more. It could be a powerful quote or something people say a lot about you, or it could be something in life that is of great interest to you (Weber and M, 2009). The hook should then be followed by a thesis statement which is basically a general description of the whole essay. Watch this video summarize the idea.

Make sure to note down your weaknesses and your strengths. Also write down your major experiences, for example your best moments, your worst moments, and your most embarrassing moments. At this stage also, you might note down your role models and the people you look up to as well as your aspirations. While at it, you should also think of the words you will use to describe yourself. Try to remember the words other people use to describe you and note them down. Again, you do not have to include everything you write here, in your main essay. This is just to help you to select what to include in the main essay.

The body of the paragraphs in most cases three forms the bulk of the essay and should be given careful attention. Once you have settled on what to write about and started with a powerful hook and thesis statement, go into greater details with the paragraphs and dedicate each to an aspect of what you want to talk about (Weber and M, 2009).  Being specific in this section is advisable. Do not shy off from giving detailed descriptions, as they will create a vivid picture to the reader and help create the desired connection to your essay. Stays focused on a single theme and spend a good amount of time on it. Avoid jumping between the different themes while writing as this will confuse the reader on the whole idea of the essay.

In cases where your institution has not provided a specific format to use, you can decide to use the traditional essay format which has five paragraphs; an introduction, a body with three paragraphs and a conclusion.

As much as you may want to be completely honest, some characteristics and experiences are better left unsaid. For example, if you have ever got into trouble with the law, it is not advisable to include that experience. Nevertheless, you may use bad experiences to highlight your strengths. For example, one of your parents might have abandoned you when you were younger. Instead of going on to explain how that parent made you suffer or how you feel deprived of love, you can instead explain how that experience made you stronger, mature, and more responsible. Focus on the outcome of the bad experience, instead of the experience itself.

A strong and good opening keeps the reader interested to read more. A strong opening should give the reader an idea of who you are. For example, you can open with your favorite quote or a joke. This will intrigue the reader to want to learn more about you. However, you should be careful not to come out as boastful. Display a good image of yourself without praising yourself too much or soiling your image.

In research papers, a thesis statement indicates what the research is all about in a few words. While writing about yourself, introduce the essay with a statement that best describes you. For example, you can include three values that best define you in the thesis statement.

  • Have three distinct paragraphs

You can choose a title for each paragraph. For example, you can have your aspirations and dreams in one paragraph, your experiences in another, and your personality traits in the last one.

In your conclusion paragraph, highlight the most important things that you want the reader to remember you for. It might be your best values or your greatest aspirations. Remember you are on a quest on how to write essay describing yourself, you want to leave a positive impression.

This should basically be a summary of the whole essay. Summarize the points you want the reader to remember about yourself and close by giving a strong take home message. A general point to remember is that a self descriptive essay should not bear a very serious tone like a scientific research paper but instead should just be casual while at the same time not given to too much joking (Bakhtin and M.M., 2010). It may also be well to maintain humility throughout the paper especially if you are a highly achieved person.

Avoid blowing your own trumpet and let the reader feel that you are a friendly and approachable character despite your many achievements in life. Give the reader a feel that you are just a human being at the end of the day. Self descriptive essays give you an opportunity to let people know who you are in your own words, therefore you need to utilize this to the maximum by opening up your heart and maintaining sincerity. Avoid dishonesty and be real, there’s nothing the readers will appreciate more than authenticity. That is how to write essay describing yourself.

Again

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References

Baker, J., Brizee, A., & Angeli, E. (2013). Essay writing. Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Savage, A., & Mayer, P. (2006). Effective academic writing: the short essay. Oxford University Press.

Weber, M. (2009). From Max Weber: essays in sociology. Routledge.

Bakhtin, M. M. (2010). The dialogic imagination: Four essays (Vol. 1). University of texas Press.

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