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Unfortunately, students have so few opportunities that they don’t even know what they care about.They’ve been told to care about grades and about those ponderous history essays — and that’s it.Whatever “voice” is — and I’ll keep referring to it as such for the sake of convenience — it’s pretty important for college essays, which help admissions officers distinguish one interesting, appealing student from thousands of other interesting, appealing students. It’s achingly ineffable and almost impossible to teach.
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Not every essay has to shout with your “voice,” just as not every essay has to drip with passion.
I can’t undo all of that apathy in the course of a blog.
I can, though, point it out and extol its opposite.“Voice” reveals the difference between what you write because you have to write something and what you really want to say.
It entails stories that excite you, ideas that interest you, ideological positions that you believe in, recommendations you want to make, and emotions you want to express. Start with matters of taste and everyday choices: Adam Levine or Ozzy Osbourne; Lebron or Steph; Chick-Fil-A or Pizza Hut; Kant or Rawls; Woolf or Bronte (or Bronte); M&Ms or Skittles; Hillary Clinton or… Think about how it feels to behold those choices, celebrate them, and identify with them.
For instance, you might proclaim, “Black Sabbath rules! ” Both are reasonable affinities that carry vast implications.