This weekend I traveled to Ohio to do some recruitment for the College and to see my beloved Cleveland Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Sunday night match-up. My love for the Cleveland Browns (and lets be frank, it’s more than love, it’s fanaticism) is a really unique facet of myself. Once, when I had time to kill in the Cleveland airport before a flight I picked up a book called On Being Brown. It was a memoir of sorts but also a love letter from a son to his father. The father had himself always been a die-hard Browns fan and had instilled in his son the same devotion to his beloved team. I gave the book to my father for his birthday because that is a special bond that he and I share, a love for and a devotion to Browns Town baby!
So why am I blogging about this? Well because my love for the Browns should have been the topic of my college essay. Instead, I wrote my William & Mary application essay on my love of history. Not that my love of history doesn’t demonstrate an intellectualism or an academic passion but it does not make me terribly unique. Each year we see several hundred essays written about a student’s love for history. These essays all start to look the same very quickly. As a reader, I know that I would remember an essay about someone’s fanatical love for a certain sports team. I myself would have written about how my childhood Sundays were spent glued to the television watching for Cleveland score updates (in Iowa, Cleveland games are infrequently televised). I would have written about how my mother took my father to his first Brown’s game for his 40th birthday. I would have written about my Brownie doll, a gift brought back to me from that 40th birthday trip that has traveled with me from Des Moines, to college, and now to the home I share with my husband. I would have written about the inception of the Des Moines Browns Backers Association and how I was the only female, and the only person under the age of 40 in attendance every Sunday. My love for the Browns makes me unique among applicants, among football fans, among females. It also shows an emotional connection to my father that is not trite but rather touching and genuine.
So as you ponder your college essay topic, search for something that is unique about you. Whether that’s your collection of ’70s rock CDs or your obsession with shoes. Maybe you were brought up overseas or maybe you have been on an African safari. Perhaps you are a fantasy football superstar or maybe you are passionate about cheesey romance novels. Whatever that topic is, make sure it’s uniquely you. It doesn’t have to be grandiose or particularly moving. There is no need for you to pack 17 years into 500 words. Just be yourself (unless you are a Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers fan…then you might want to choose a slightly less offensive topic 🙂
– Wendy Livingston