Shopping for an Essay Topic? Think Locally!
The big buzz this week is Wegmans, the supermarket experience like no other. When the doors opened at 7 a.m. on Sunday, 1,000 people already were lined up to shop and get in on the action, according to an Associated Press report. Technically, many weren’t really checking it out because they had already shopped at a Wegmans by making the trip to another county, such as Frederick, or to another state, such as Virginia. But now the people of Montgomery County could stay close–or perhaps not so close–to home by shopping at the Germantown store. Is this really news? And what could it possibly have to do with college application essays?
Tip O’Neill, the late Massachusetts Congressman and Speaker of the House, once said that all politics is local. In other words, people care more about the news that affects them directly than what may affect them, perhaps even to a greater extent, on a grander scale. On Sunday, perhaps nothing short of a national disaster on the epic scale of another 9/11 could have redirected Montgomery County food shoppers’ focus away from the grand opening of a Wegmans within county limits.
Now let’s think about writing college application essays. How does an applicant attract the admissions officers? One answer is to write about something one really cares about. Don’t aim for a lofty topic, such as world peace, but on something more “local,” such as making peace with a little sister.
Admissions officers bore easily, having to sort through several dozen essays a day. However, when they land upon something recognizably individual emanating from the writer’s heart, they take notice. Imagine you are on stage as a member of the chorus of a big Broadway production. Now imagine that throughout an entire number, the cameraman focuses the spotlight solely on you. A well written essay that derives from one’s heart can highlight an individual from the crowd, just like the chorus member spotlighted throughout the performance. Your GPA and test scores get you on the stage, but your essay can lure in the admissions officer.
Oh my gosh! Where has the time gone? I’ve got to head out to the store to pick up a few things for dinner. I think I’ll go to Wegmans!