Someone with whom you would feel relaxed enough to be yourself.Don’t be afraid to use rhetorical questions and direct address as you would in a conversation – the aim is to grab the admissions tutor’s attention.
Try to think of something uniquely important to you.
It doesn’t have to be a crazy or unusual experience, but it should be something that affected you in an interesting or different way.
Remember that the questions are open to wide interpretation – it doesn’t specify, for example, that the person who influenced you had to do so for good!
The more original and thoughtful your topic, the more attention the admission tutors will pay, so spend some time just working out what you can write about to make you stand out from the crowd.
Ask them to let you know how it comes across, which bits grab their attention the most, and whether it truly reflects your personality.
Don’t be afraid to make changes and go through several drafts – you want it to be perfect.
Our previous blog outlined some top tips for applying to the Ivy League, but now we focus in more detail on the most important aspect of American university applications: the admissions essay.
The reason this essay strikes fear into the hearts of so many UK A-level students is that it is completely different from anything expected of university applicants in this country.
For every kid who’s hung prayer flags on a mountain summit in Tibet, there are a dozen others who’ve studied a Bantu language in Rwanda, worked with Guatemalan orphans, cooked with a celebrity chef, or been on reality TV.
"To be honest," says Ponnusamy, "if you're thinking about the most selective of schools in the country and the most interesting thing in your life is your parents' divorce, you're not going to get in anyway.”But even if your life hasn't been filled with experiences worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, you can salvage an essay about a ho-hum subject by having a novelist's eye for detail.