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  • Geoff Cartier

Writing your College Essay

A subject of a recent admissions email from Wheaton College read "grades+test scores+extracurriculars*YOU!" Another important variable in that equation is the college essay. The essay or personal statement is your opportunity to share something meaningful about yourself; something that isn't already directly stated on your application.

Simply put, your essay should enable you to stand out and make you a more desirable candidate for admission into your chosen schools. The English teachers at Oxford will help all of our juniors and seniors work their way through this somewhat tricky writing process. Your goals should include saying something unique, saying it in a novel way, and doing this all without sounding like you're bragging! This is not easy. On the next page is a particularly successful example from Oxford senior Yuuki Nishimura.

He uses his brother's remarkable story to parallel and comment on his own experiences transitioning to American culture and his Oxford education. He does it in his own voice. It is tempting to use the thesaurus to elevate your vocabulary but this usually reeks of desperation. I hope you enjoy it and remember to talk to your English teacher or Mr. Cartier if you have any questions about the college essay.


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