At Cultivate, we know that the 8 most important values in college admissions are intentionality, reflection, open-mindedness, resilience, expression, engagement, balance, and confidence. Creating a personal statement with these principles is critical to having the best essay possible. Having a great college essay can greatly increase your chances of acceptance. It can be the difference between getting accepted or denied by your top school!

In this blog, we’ll take a look at a couple of values from “Cultiv8” and explain why they are so crucial in crafting a great personal statement.

Perhaps the most important value to include in your college essay preparation is reflection. It all begins with the essay topic you choose. What do you want to share? Think about what sets you apart: reflect upon your life experiences and brainstorm important events and anecdotes that are truly unique to you. If you think someone else may write about the topic you’re going to, this means you should pick a different one. You want an admissions officer to read your essay and be refreshed by the unique and interesting perspective you offer. Even if you don’t have an offbeat hobby, talk about specific things that are important to you and explain how they have shaped you into the person you have become today.

Another critical value to understand and practice when writing a personal statement is expression. Coming up with an incredible story to share is just half the battle. Being a great storyteller can make or break the reading experience for the admissions counselor reading it! The goal here is to make the reader feel something. Even if your topic is simple, try to trigger an emotional response for the person who will be reading your essay. This doesn’t mean the college admissions counselor must shed a tear when finishing your last paragraph (but if you can achieve this, bonus points). Try to make your readers smile or reflect upon their own life. Make your perspective clear and available so they may learn something. Even if you can get them to nod in agreement while reading, that is a win.

By reflecting deeply and expressing yourself fully, you have the best chance to elicit a personal response and connection between you and your reader. Being honest and vulnerable in this process will take your essay to the next level. This process may be challenging, but it will also be the most rewarding. In fact, at Cultivate, we always encourage our students to not only go, but grow, through the college admissions process. Contact your Cultivate Coach today and get started on an incredible personal statement that will be sure to turn the heads of college admissions officers. Whether you need help formulating a topic or writing the essay itself, we are here and excited to help.