One of the things that we are taught in school is that when we’re writing, we should always consider our audience. That’s true and good advice. But one mistake that students make on the college essay is to spend too much effort trying to write what they think their readers on an admissions committee want to hear instead of focusing on what they want to share about themselves. 

Don’t waste time and the most valuable real estate in the application writing something that isn’t you or about you. For example, you could focus your essay on a grandparent you admire, or a community service experience you’ve had.  That’s a solid starting place to discuss yourself, but don’t stop there. Tell the committee  how that service trip deepened your interest in a specific social issue that is now your planned career focus, or why your grandparent influenced your love of physics or cooking. 

The essay must be more than a recap of what you have done. Reviewers find that information helpful but what they really want to know? How those things changed or inspired you. For example, go ahead and identify someone who has influenced your life –and then tell us how it changed or impacted you. 

So in sum, yes, write for your audience but remember, your audience wants to know about you! 

You’re off to great things!