By Linda Abraham, Founder and President of m, more College Admissions Articles.
Don't rely exclusively on your computer to check your spelling. Don't provide a collection of generic statements and platitudes. Don't give mealy-mouthed, weak excuses for your GPA or SAT scores. Don't make things up. Use concrete examples from your life experience to support your thesis and distinguish yourself from other applicants. Write about what interests you, excites you. That's what the admissions staff wants to read. If you are an immigrant to the US, the child of immigrants or someone whose ethnicity is a minority in the US, you might find this question an interesting one to show how your background will add to the mix of perspectives at the program you are applying to. Don't try to be a clown (but gentle humor is OK). Don't be afraid to start over if the essay just isn't working or doesn't answer the essay question. Don't try to impress your reader with your vocabulary.
If you are applying after having an unusual experience for applicants like joining the military, becoming part of a dance troupe, or caring for an elderly relative, you can use your experience to evoke the way in which you will bring diversity to campus.
How To Write About Overcoming Challenges Without Sounding Like A Whiner.
But wait. What if you are still not sure how to develop a unifying theme? Or perhaps you don't know which experiences to focus on, or simply lack confidence in your writing skills, or have suddenly developed an acute case of blank-screen-it-is?