Storytelling with College Admission Essays: How Colleges and Students Can Benefit

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Storytelling is a communications tool that shows who you are and connects you with your audience. It has proved effective for Fortune 500 companies in build rewarding relationships.

If companies can use storytelling to establish their credentials and stay connected, so should colleges, and students seeking admission. Both parties can use storytelling to showcase their “content” and “container”, character, skills and talent, strengths and weaknesses. Colleges can use storytelling to determine the suitability of candidates, who in turn can know the college offerings- faculty, tuition, fees, facilities, research, and career guidance.

How far have colleges and students used storytelling for good mileage? Not quite. They can do better  with college admission essays. But that depends on who writes the essay – the college, or the aspiring students. Either way, such essays help the college or students tell their value stories, and answer the question:  “Who are you?

Both parties need answers to this for decision making, but the opportunity of using college admission to tell value stories is not used. Such essays dwell on such topics as: Global Warming, Going Green and Environmental Safety.  There is no attempt to refocus college admission essays on telling value stories.

How does a college know the students; how does the student know the rating and offerings of the college? We want better results. Who writes the storytelling essays? Both parties! A college can write it to tell its value story, or the students write it to demonstrate their command of  grammar and  comprehension, show their strengths and weakness, frustrations, drive, dreams, aspirations, and expectations. Such revelations come if students narrate their experiences in high schools, or dramatic events in their lives. College admission essays should be skewed to show who we are and the way we work and live.

What are the advantages of turning college admission essays into personal storytelling?

It lays a solid platform for bonding and multiplies the positives of admission exercises.

Personal stories can save colleges money they would have been spent on research.

Colleges can use such stories to showcase their faculties and facilities, understand their students, and position their academic offerings properly.

Personal stories show dreams.  Colleges should understand that they are selling dreams, not tuition. How do you find the dreams of students? Through storytelling.  That is what marketing is all about.


Eric Okeke is a storyteller, editor, business writer, motivational speaker and author of the best selling book: I Want a Husband. He is one of Nigeria’s most experienced financial journalists. He has published several articles in local and foreign publications and in websites such as http://www.ezinearticles.com, www.ezinearticles.com and www.writingcareer.com. He is currently running Infomedia Company, a media consulting and information marketing company. Visit his blog at http://sallywantsahusband.blogspot.com

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