You Have Something to Write About
Getting into College is a Science, NOT an Art
June 26, 2017

Secret 38

Most application essay prompts boil down to one question: What happened in your life to make you the person you are today?

Maybe you didn’t swim from Cuba to the United States to find a better life. Maybe you’ve never climbed Mount Everest, or mined an asteroid. Maybe you’re never led a revolution, or an orchestra or Save the Dodo club.

But if you’ve lived this long, you’ve done or experienced something. And that is your secret weapon.

If you’ve lived your whole life in the suburbs, behind white picket fences, you might think you have nothing to write about. You’re wrong.

Think about:

  • The best or worst day of your life
  • The person or the words that changed everything for you
  • The thing you never thought you’d do
  • The answers in your Write It profile – what did you take away from those experiences?

It can be big or small, mighty or miniscule. What’s important is that it matters to you.

I know a student who got into Harvard with an essay about learning to walk. Almost every applicant to Harvard can walk, but for her walking was a life-changing event. Her essay made it an epic one. If it matters to you, you can make it as dramatic as it needs to be.

Start with the wildest, craziest first sentence you can think of. Be creative, be thorough and grab your reader’s attention. Most of all, write from the heart.

Your secret weapon is the fact that only you have lived your life. No one else can write about you – that’s all the advantage you need.


Rick Singer,