Who you are as a person with all of your outstanding character traits, qualities, and ways of being in this world are important and help you describe yourself to others—especially College Admissions.

Regardless of the colleges you choose, these schools need to be able to distinguish you from your competition in order to admit you. If you choose a top school, you will be among applicants with very impressive grades, test scores and activities. If you apply to less challenging schools, you will still be competing with others who have similar qualifications. So it is imperative that you find a unique way to set yourself apart from your competition.

Brainstorm with your parents who know you best and may remember incidents which you have forgotten, Since colleges are interested in finding out who a student is, this is the time to self-promote—nothing arrogant or phony—just an honest, straight-forward self-portrayal.

Here’s how you do that. You develop a competitive edge or "Who Am I"—a verbal self-portrait which features your most outstanding character trait with accompanying examples to show that quality in action.

Here’s an example a former student used.

He wanted to get across the fact that he was a ”Leader who knew how to both motivate and inspire others." He began his essay this way…

“And so my fellow constituents, since you have elected me your President, here’s what I propose. I looked out at the people sitting in front of me, all seemed to be awaiting my every word. The great hall where we were located echoed my voice which I tried to raise to presidential proportions. 'We live a very self-indulgent life—yes, I see some of you are shaking your heads in disagreement—be honest, we have the best of everything here at a school where our father’s attended and their fathers before them. My proposal is this—we share the wealth—we go to a public school in Harlem, choose a grade—say 9th, bring them to our school for a semester, and take our 9th grade to their school. NO, no please, let’s behave the way we were taught—Think what a terrific opportunity for both schools—we help them and they help us to understand what needs to be done to improve their lives, their education. We can all be leaders in this effort. I’d like to see a show of hands willing to help me make this happen. WOW, you take my breath away—only 5 who disagree.'

He then takes this essay into more personal terms and explains how he marketed this idea to the School Board, and was turned down until last week, when they said—"'make it happen. We have changed our minds.”And what that change did to his sense of self and where he wanted to take his life.

So remember—dig deep and find your most outstanding quality—then find a way to introduce the quality in action, hopefully making it clear in your example just how it affects your actions. Good luck, I’m sure you will do yourselves proud.