A teacher at one of my recent college essay workshops asked,
“What are some good ways for kids to approach the Common Application essay prompt about a person who’s influenced them?"
Here a few tips.
1. Remember what “influence” means.
Influence is defined as, “the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another…” The fact that you admire someone doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve influenced you. There needs to be some action or change in your actions, behavior or opinions. That means you'll need to give specific examples of those things. Deciding to improve your behavior in school, visiting a particular college you previously refused to see, spending more time volunteering at the soup kitchen—if you did those things because of someone else, that’s influence.
2. Don’t choose this prompt to try to sound impressive.
The Common Application actually gives you five choices of essay prompts. A lot of students who choose this one write about a famous activist, politician, or someone else notable in an effort to sound impressive. Again, you have to remember what “influence” means. The admissions committee doesn’t need to be convinced that Martin Luther King or Gandhi are admirable. Unless you can point to specific examples of how someone famous really has affected your actions, behavior or opinions, choose someone else (or chose a different topic).
3. Focus on the influence, not the person.
The exact wording of the question is, “Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.” The subtext there is that you shouldn’t spend the entire essay describing why this person is so wonderful. Spend the essay talking about you—your behavior, actions and beliefs—and how those have changed or strengthened as a result of this person’s influence.
4. Write an essay nobody else could write.
An essay about how your mother has inspired you to work hard is a nice essay. But it will read exactly like hundreds of other students’ essays. Instead, be specific. Give details. Write an essay that no other student could write. And if it’s about your mom, give enough specific examples so that nobody else’s essay about their own mother will be quite like yours.
You can find even more advice in our video, “How to Write Great College Essays.” It’s $12.99 and available as a streaming download.
Filed Under: College essays
Essay about The Person Who Most Influenced Me
867 Words4 Pages
It is easy to say that a parent has had the most influence on your life, they taught you how to walk, talk, drink and among many other things hopefully right from wrong. A good parent is there for you most of your life, quick to lend a hand or offer advice (unless it’s your mother-in-law) when needed, but the trait that impacted my life the most was the integrity my father exhibited with me and the people lucky enough to have met him.
My Father was born to a farmer in NJ a few short years after the depression, learned the lessons that only hard labor can teach from a young age. Working on the farm is not easy, the days are long, the chores are extremely physical and dirty and if you’re a kid all this happens before you even go off to…show more content…
If you were to ask my father how he made the tough decisions in life he would tell you it was simple. Well maybe it is when you have an uncompromising set of ideals and sure sense of what is fair. I can remember when I was only 10 years old and my father was offered a high level position with his company but the position would require for us to move to Texas. We lived in a small town with a great school and lots of friends, my mother and father were both involved in the volunteer Fire Department and I think I knew everyone in town. Everyone looked out for each other and most important we felt safe. My dad easily turned down the position and never regretted it, although I am certain on a professional level he would have enjoyed the challenge. To this day I often think back to that sacrifice when I am analyzing similar options in my career. The first priority in my life is creating a stable nurturing environment for my family, not buying them the most video games. My Dad did ok making money and supporting our family, we had a nice house and plenty of toys and TV’s but what I remember the most was that he was home every night and weekend to enjoy them with us not at the office.
My father is a big football fan and even wrote in my baby book that he hoped I would grow up loving the game as much as he does. Well his dream came true as I am a self proclaimed football junkie. A few months prior to my Freshman year of High School I announced I would be