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This type of question attempts to learn more about you through the forces that have shaped you.Many students make the mistake of believing that this is an essay about a person.
What action did you take to turn this impression into personal development and change?
Colleges learn a lot about your values and standards through your description of your mentors.
Real change, though, always results from the work, effort, and initiative you have put into yourself. While looking at your application, you are probably asking yourself: "Why in the world are these admissions people asking me this question? " While there is no one answer to either of these questions, there is some reason behind the most popular questions posed by applications. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you. What about you, your experiences, or your upbringing has made this issue resonate for you? Showing that you are passionate is great; showing that you are one-sided or bull-headed is not.
Finally, be sure to refrain from making sweeping generalizations about issues that would be out of your range of experience. Indicate a person, character in fiction, an historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, etc.) who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
Did you get a compliment from a notoriously tough boss? Did you work around the clock to bring your C in physics up to an A?
Do not think about what they want to hear--think about what has really made you proud.It does not matter what you have accomplished as long as it was personally meaningful and you can make it come alive.Unless specified, the accomplishment can be professional, personal, or academic.If you do choose to write about an accomplishment that the committee can read about somewhere else on your application, be sure to bring that experience alive by demonstrating what it took to get there and how it affected you personally. You will not have to worry about either extreme if you spend the bulk of your essay simply telling the story.If you feel like you have not done anything worth focusing on, then remind yourself that the best essays are often about modest accomplishments.They go on at length, describing the influential person in detail without making a connection between him and themselves.The school doesn't care about your uncle, or some fictional heroine. What about that person made an impression on you, and how?Finally, describe real events and scenarios to prove that your growth resulted from the decisions you made and the actions you took.Significant events and people can serve as inspiration. If a cause is important to you or you have a strong opinion about it, relate it back to your life. Be sure to write about both sides of the issues to show that you can think objectively and logically.This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, Ph D.Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia.