The genre of the college admissions essay forces students to conform to certain guidelines and fulfill the rhetorical situation. The format of this essay includes showcasing one’s individuality, accomplishments, diligence, and eloquent writing skills. The rhetorical situation is basically to write an essay that will evoke emotion in the reader. The student wants to write an essay that will make the reader both impressed and intrigued. The end goal is obviously that the reader will want to admit the student to the university. The other odd aspect of the college admissions essay is that the student can cater to their audience. Students can use this idea of the rhetorical location to perform research to find out exactly what values the school is interested in endorsing. Each student has a unique experience with the college admissions essay but, in general, all students will follow a common format.
My experience with the college admissions essay was probably similar to many other students across the country. My process began by trying to come up with aspects of my life and personality that made me unique. I decided to write about the time that I have spent in the outdoors. My essay showed how that has shaped me into the person I am today. I focused on specific moments during a month-long trek that I did in the mountain ranges of Wyoming. I intertwined these moments with brief insights into my outlook on life as a whole. For example, I described how standing on top of a 13,000 foot mountain, I came to the realization that individual humans are really unimportant. This helped me to understand that it is only our small actions and relationships with other people that really matter. I did not want to follow the traditional five-paragraph essay prompt. So instead, my essay turned out to be eight smaller paragraphs jumping back and forth between my two stories/ideas. Looking back now, I can see that the college admissions essay really does merit its own genre.