All of their lives, people tell kids "don't brag, it's not nice." But once a teen gets to eleventh grade, we expect them to know how to talk about their gifts as they navigate the college process. Unfortunately, those early childhood parent tapes are still rolling and many teens are not comfortable telling the stories about how they overcame a challenge.
Early training conflicts with the reality of college applications are just the tip of the iceberg. Another barrier is knowing how to create an interesting and informative personal essay. Although some schools spend adequate time teaching students how to write an essay, many do not. Students who take to heart cautions to write in third person, avoid informal style and slang and practice safe punctuation are less likely to write the most interesting essays.
Students writing college essays benefit from encouragement and support from parents and teachers to tell the stories only they can tell in the most appropriate way.