Monday, April 26, 2010

Myths and Misconceptions of the College Essay: Writing to Reveal Part 6

Myth #5: My essay has to be perfect.

College admissions people know you are not Michelangelo.

Your essay, therefore, doesn't have to be a David-like sculpture that embodies American perfectionism.

Colleges know you are 17 and 18. They know you a work-of-art-in-process.

College, in fact, is meant to be a part of the sculpting process.

What colleges then are looking for are the raw materials.

The clay that can be molded into a form of beauty.

The best essays, then, don't strive for perfection.

They simply aim at being personal.

The kind of personal that you get to in a conversation over a cup of coffee.

The kind of personal that reveals what pumps and roils and churns within your heart's chamber.

The kind of personal, in other words, that taps into your lifeblood.

Frederick Buechner, perhaps, said it best: "Good writing is really quite simple. All you have to do is have the courage to open a vein."