So, you’ve brainstormed. You’ve found a topic that excites you. Now your job is to present it clearly and humbly. Don’t waste any time insisting to your reader that this particular moment with your grandfather, or this curious hobby of yours is important or unique or interesting – simply treat it as such.

Your reader already assumes that what you’ve chosen to write about in your Common Application essay is meaningful to you. Let your language, the precision of your sentences, and the vividness of your descriptions do the persuading. The poet Charles Reznikov puts it this way:

You start with something that moves you and you state it as simply and as directly as possible, without saying you’re moved, but in such a way that the reader will also be moved by it.