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It goes without saying that, as an international student, your application will be distinct from that of many of the other students applying to American colleges and universities. If you did not go to school in the States, your schooling experience, the activities you participated in, and many of the details of your life and childhood are likely very different than those of the average American teen. The mistake most international students make is in assuming that this is enough to set themselves apart from the competition and stand out in the eyes of an Admissions Officer.
Admissions Officers read over forty applications a day; it’s going to take more than that to leave a lasting impression.
For International Students, of course the basic rules of college essay writing apply. You want to write about something personal that only you could write. You want to speak to admissions in your own voice to give admissions a sense of your personality. And you want to highlight something about yourself that isn’t addressed elsewhere on your application.
The thing most International students don’t consider when they write their college essays is that you also have to distinguish yourself…from other international students. It isn’t enough just to say “I am different because I grew up outside of the United States,” because so many other applicants can say the same thing. How is that life of yours so unique and different from domestic and international students alike?
Tell Admissions about where you came from and what it was like to grow up where you grew up. Did you live within walking distance of your entire extended family in China? How did that shape the way you feel about family and relationship building? What were your favorite foods in your hometown and how are they reflective of your culture and traditions? What might people not know or understand about where you came from?
Remember, at the end of the day, the goal is to have an admissions officer read your application and remember you. So think about what makes you distinct, both from students in the US and around the world, and showcase what really makes you, you!