Showing Leadership in Your College Essay

• Attributes of A Leader • Examples • Informal Leaders • Self Leadership • Sharing Your Vision

Showing Leadership in Your College Essay

As an applicant, you find it important that the essay showcase a leader.

Demonstrate the Attributes of A Leader

Anyone can be a leader, but for an academic institution, what kind of leader is the admissions committee looking out for? In college admissions, most committees are looking for evidence that you can be a leader on and off-campus.

They want to make sure they aren't just getting someone who has a good academic background or impressive extracurricular activities, but someone who can be an inspiration to their peers. Therefore, many times they are looking for leadership qualities such as taking charge in class and being responsible for the well-being of others.

A leader in the academic setting is someone who's interested, engaged, and excited about what they're learning in order to show a keen interest in leadership.

Examples of Leadership to Give

For starters, a great college essay about leadership would include plenty of specific examples of your own leading skills — giving particular instances and not just vague platitudes about how well-liked you are. Situations test the mettle of leaders, so in your essay, you want to0 get really specific.

Starting Your College Essay Intro With a Bang
• Personal Story • Future Plans• Family Motivation• Self Discovery• Quotes• Travelling• Love• Stress• History• Hobbies• Music & Arts• Academia

You might consider discussing a time when someone else wasn't as prepared and you stepped up to help or giving your opinion about how to get such-and-such to study more.

You might also want to focus on your leadership skills related to the fields of major or your career goals. This doesn't mean that you should solely focus on extracurricular activities; it means that you should demonstrate leadership in academics as well as on campus.

Use detailed examples to illustrate what you do well. The more descriptive, illustrative and vivid your recount, the better you will be able to show that you have leadership skills. Your examples can be from any time, anywhere, and can include people of all kinds.

Informal Leaders

Most applicants worry whether their transcript has any vague or particular mention of leadership qualities. Typical students pick out words like "Class Rep", "Head Cheerleader", " Team Captain", etc, to use as examples of leadership in their essay. However, leaders also appear in informal settings too - for example, when they make themselves useful to their peers.

Examples of informal leadership might include examples like:

  • Making new friends by joining extracurricular activities. This will also show that you're friendly and outgoing and have a willingness to make new acquaintances, which is another thing that the college admissions committee looks for.
  • Being an active participant in community service - foreshadowing potential leadership skills in your future professional life.
  • When you provide guidance to a fellow student who is struggling in a difficult class, you are showing that you have the skills to give someone else the necessary confidence that they will be able to finish their work.
  • Being a leader in the community - in church, in a club, in the class or fraternity you're a member of, etc.

When you volunteer to help out at your student organization, you are showing that you have leadership qualities in action.

Self Leadership

As an applicant, it's important that you aren't just looking for some generic term like "leadership" but something more specific about what kind of leadership skills and qualities do you possess. Self-leadership is a common trait that the college committee is looking out for in applicants. The key to self-leadership is to be able to get yourself up and moving when you are surrounded by self-doubt or set back.

Self-leadership can be demonstrated in your college application essay by writing about a time when you overcame adversity or those times where your vision was stifled. The fact that you were able to fight through failing grades, social conflict, or family stress shows that you have the necessary fortitude and skills to persevere against all odds.

Sharing Your Vision With The Admissions Committee

This is because, at the end of the day, admissions officers are looking for leaders who can innovate and create opportunities for themselves and their peers to get a great education. Therefore, when it comes down to submission time, remember that your essay should show that you have the drive to excel in college.

Therefore, take some time to think about how you can be a leader in college. You want to do your research and come up with a unique idea on how you can be an innovator and an opportunity creator on campus. Be specific but also make sure that in your statement you are not just talking about yourself but rather about how you will contribute to the campus community.

The Admissions Committee also wants to know that they have an applicant who will be contributing value to their fellow students – the future of your institution or organization. This means that when you combine your academic background with your leadership skills, you are able to manifest the best of both worlds.

Subscribe to Interview Question

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
[email protected]