Writing a college admissions essay about a famous person is similar to writing about your grandmother, it’s tricky to write about a famous person. You risk writing a short academic paper rather than a true personal statement.
Here are 7 tips for keeping your essay about a famous person interesting (note: the first two tips are very similar to the tips for writing about your grandmother!):
1. Focus on you, not on the famous person. Write your thoughts and opinions about the person.
2. If you find you have written more than one sentence in a row that is all about the famous person instead of about you, add the word “I” or “me” to at least one of the sentences!
3. Do NOT copy information from the internet about the person and put it in your essay. It will be crystal clear to the admissions committee that you did not write that part of the essay, and it is extremely easy to copy and paste text and put it into Google. If anything pops up in the results containing that text, you will NOT get into college.
4. Think about the first time you heard about the famous person, saw the person on television, read a book by the person, or saw the person’s artwork. What were your thoughts in that moment? How did the person, book or artwork affect you?
5. What happened next? Did you go research more about the person? Did you start reading every book by the person? Did your friends and family start giving you books about the person or his or her work?
Tell the story as it progressed of what you learned about the person, and about what kept you interested.
6. Talk about how your understanding of the person’s influence or work changed over time. As you matured, did you start to gain a deeper understanding or see things from a different perspective? Share the details of this process.
7. Tell us how this person or work has had an impact on your life. How are you different because of your contact with and knowledge of this person?
As you can see, writing about a famous person can actually be very personal. The personal side is what will keep the attention of the admissions committee members. Remember, they are just as capable as you are of using Google and Wikipedia to find out about a famous person’s life. What they want to read about is your unique experience.
For examples of successful college essays, The Essay Expert recommends Accepted! 50 Successful College Admissions Essays by Gen and Kelly Tanabe.
Still not sure how to write a great college application essay about your sport? Contact The Essay Expert for a FREE 15 minute consultation.