Essay B: Identity, Interest, Talent
I have taken some time to reflect on the new Apply Texas topics. I still don’t have any strong opinions. I am waiting to see how UT uses them and which ones they require. I have gotten some initial reactions from admissions professionals, parents, and students. I want to share a few thoughts.
The new Essay B reads: “Some students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. If you are one of these students, then tell us about yourself.”
Think of any college admissions essay as an “invitation to write.” Essay B invites you to share something interesting about yourself. It can be anything! In the past, students were forced to fit a compelling trait or hobby narrowly into a prompt about working with diverse groups (2013-2015 Essay A), overcoming an obstacle (2013-2015 Essay B), or an issue of importance (2011-2013 Essay A).
Now, you can talk about whatever you want without having to connect it to any larger theme. This is a blessing and a curse because such an open-ended prompt requires you to supply the structure. The range of possible essays is far greater than years past. A larger range of themes means you have a real chance to set yourself apart from the applicant pool and provide some excellent context to your resume or recommendation letters.
It is also very similar to the first prompt on the Common Application.
“1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”
One student has already asked me if it is okay to use the same essay for both. I don’t see why not. Be sure to take the opportunity to connect your interest, hobby, or identity within the particular fit of your chosen university. As always, it is important to adapt your essay with the needs of the university you are seeking entry.
At first, I wasn’t crazy about these new topics. But Essay B is definitely growing on me. It will reward those students who have a demonstrated curiosity and knack for a particular activity, subject, or issue It gives the flexibility for a student with a unique or defining identity characteristic to share it with reviewers. You should take this opportunity to paint a compelling picture of one quality that genuinely motivates you. Be an artist and paint your way into your dream university.
I am excited to see what students end up producing with this new opportunity!
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me for assistance on how to build powerful essays.