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College Search Tip #2: Sell Yourself

Today, our expert Julie Soper, assistant director of international admissions at American University, gives students advice on how to step out of their comfort zone and really '"sell yourself" in admissions essays. (Yesterday, she advised about preparing yourself to study in the U.S.)
Q: What advice do you have for admissions essays?

A: "I think that one of the things that’s hard to adjust to with the American educational system is that on our applications, we want you to be as individual as possible, which can be pretty time-consuming. So, making sure that you—for any of your essays—that you are using something that is original, something that you haven’t used in other school work. Something that you’re sending just to AU in terms of a writing supplement or an extra resume or something like that—making it personalized for each school is something that I think is different for the U.S. and I think can be a stumbling block for some students.

"Some cultures have a hard time—you know stepping into and owning that role of, you know, really talking about their accomplishments. And I think that can be not just a cultural thing, but just an effect of being, you know, 17, 18 years old and not really having learned to own what are your strengths. So that is something that can be a challenge for any college applicant."
Come back tomorrow see what common mistakes are found in essays that can hinder your chances of getting into your dream school.

This story was first produced by VOA Learning English.