In the latest installment of our mission to simplify the process of applying to college through QuestBridge, today’s question of the day is this: My family life is complicated and I'm not comfortable expressing all that I've seen. What can I do in this situation?
Answer: Psychologist Carl Jung once said "I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become." This has been a quote that I have loved for years. If it isn't obvious how this quote applies, think about college as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to define yourself in the midst of all the challenges that you may have faced or continue to face in the present. While it can be complicated to talk about very personal issues in your application, the more information you give the admissions officer, the better the reader can contextualize the world in which you live. The admissions officer isn't asking you to write a complete autobiography, although it may feel that way at times. However, the admissions officer is asking you to share your world with them to help that person understand something that he/she probably has not experienced.
I'll be the first person to admit that I kept a pretty big secret about my family from ALL of my college friends throughout my four years, but the admissions officer who read my file knew that secret. Keep in mind that the admissions officer isn't publicizing your life story for your peers. Instead, they use your narrative to understand the way in which you think and the lens in which you see the world. Bottom line, since the goal for an admissions officer is to understand you and what makes you tick, please remember that the admissions officer will not know the information unless you or one of your recommenders types that information in your application.
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