Essays and personal statements convey information – that part is obvious. But they also convey emotion.
Consider the emotional impact your essay will have on the college admissions counselors reading it. Hint: On a basic level, you’ll want them to feel enthusiastic about your potential at their college. Once you have a working draft, share it with a few trusted friends or mentors. Ask them one question: “How does it make you feel?” If it doesn’t move them in a positive way, then you need to figure out why.
For example, if you write about a challenge or hardship, make sure the set-up is brief. Your prime-time attention is on how you overcame the challenge, and what you learned from the experience.
This is when you get to demonstrate your resilience and problem-solving super powers – traits that will serve you well in college and in life.