For the past few years you have molded your schedule to incorporate various extra-curricular activities, delegated hours upon hours to the studying of your course material so that your precious transcript is as flawless as possible, invested time to the betterment of our community in reciprocation. Now, the time has come to encompass the entire package into an application that we have become all too common with, and all of your efforts and successes are compressed to a mere text file to be processed and printed, becoming simply a stack of sheets on a desk. At first, it seems impossible as to how a committee can base your selection to that dream school from a package of black and white marks. So what gives you color? Your voice.

Many may argue that a rigorous academic course load, accompanied by astronomical SAT scores is the deciding factor in the admissions process, but I have found this to be misrepresentative of the college process. As a student of a university of college, you represent your institution. So, what is it that universities want, you may ask? An interesting student: one that will be noticed and highlighted amongst others, one that has a story.

For myself, I thought I had it all figured out. A first generation student, with my mother and father born and raised in Europe, Austria and Portugal, respectively. After a first draft and a session with my English teacher, I was upset to hear that this topic was not as unique as I had expected. My teacher had reviewed many other essays of similar standing, and the one thing I found so interesting about myself seemed cliché. After deliberating the topic, I entered the mind of the college counselor. Family and heritage seemed to be such an easy, first impulse topic to base one’s personal statement on. I struggled to find something that would make me stand out; something that no one could possibly have written about before.

Then the unthinkable happened; I broke my thumb. Now, from the prospective of an average high school student, this may seem trivial, but for the All State and All National violinist I had built myself up to be, it was life changing. My plans of pursuing a double major in music and engineering seemed all but over. I was consumed by emotion; anger, frustration, despondency.

And it clicked; this was my topic. What came as a horror was really a blessing in disguise. I funneled the turbulence of feelings that I had been affected by into writing; thus was born my personal statement. Instead of being just another folder, I became “that violinist that broke his thumb”; I became remembered. So, if you are struggling to compose a unique college essay, take my advice and fracture an arm or something.