College Essay Help: Writing About Your Accomplishments

I Don't Mean To Brag, But... I Was An Incredibly Strong Baby.

I don't mean to brag, but... I was an incredibly strong baby.

One of the potential stumbling blocks many students face when writing personal statements or other pieces about their accomplishments is in navigating the fine line between self-promotion and bragging. We've seen "I don't want to brag, but..." in a startling number of essays. That part shouldn't be a problem. Here's a tip if you're including that line: don't.

But selling yourself is part of the deal, and you're going to need to get across what makes you great without ever seeming pompous. Here are three important tips:

1. Try to state what you've achieved, not what others have failed at. When you're trying to avoid bragging, remember context. The context you put your accomplishments in will make the difference between stating your achievements and just kicking dirt in your opponents' faces.

2. Talk about your decisions, and why they were unique. By discussing the things that were right, you imply options, and in the process, you articulate things that others have done and gotten wrong, without denigrating them or seeming like a sore winner.

3. Discuss how you expect to improve even further. This doesn't mean talking about what you did wrong, or even what you'd like to change about your past actions or accomplishments. Simply discuss in specific terms how you see a new level of development that was never available to you before, but that after all your hard work, you belong there.

You should be proud of all you've set out to achieve, and talking about what you are capable of rather than others' shortcomings is a huge boon to your writing. Make the most of it.

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