• Sophie van Os

How being vulnerable can strengthen your personal essay


I can almost hear you thinking: ‘Be vulnerable and exposing yourself in a college essay?! NO WAY!!’ When writing your college essay, think about how you can stand out from all the other applicants. By being courageous and showing your weaknesses and, more importantly, showing that you know how to use them to your advantage, you WILL stand out. There are many ways to express this in your essay. But… let's be honest, you’ve probably already heard about them. Yet it still doesn’t make it any easier to do so.


Your first instinct will be to show your strengths, your good qualities, right? You don’t want to give them any reason NOT to accept you to the program you’re applying to.


Think about this for a moment:

If every other student does the exact same thing… and you want to stand out, you must do the OPPOSITE. And in this case, the opposite of showing your strengths is showing your weaknesses.


So how do you do that and still feel good about your essay? Well let me give you an example of how I would approach it. And yes, I’m setting the example of being vulnerable here so.. please be kind.


A very personal example of how I would show my vulnerability

One of the strengths that I consider myself to have is being helpful. I love helping people, supporting them and being a safety-net for others. The thing is, when I overdo my helpfulness to others, I eventually sacrifice my own needs.


This can be a very tricky thing to deal with, but I’m learning every day. Being creative also helps me with this because I don’t have to take anyone else into account. It’s just me, myself and my art.



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