The Foreign Service Journal - December 2013 - page 62

the Indian Ocean, don’t spend too much
time describing waves, sand, etc., unless
there’s a way in which the setting is differ-
ent from the beach at any other ocean.
Instead, focus on evoking the history
of the place (the spice trade?), mention
the colors of the shells and wildlife, or
talk about the local people who also go to
“your” beach.
■ Discuss an accomplishment or event,
formal or informal, that marked your tran-
sition from childhood to adulthood within
your culture, community or family.
Here’s where the average stateside
American student is going to discuss how
hard he worked on the football team for
that big victory, or how the family pulled
together when a sibling or parent was ill.
There’s nothing wrong with these topics,
of course. But again, use your overseas
experiences here if you can.
This is not an easy prompt, however.
Rarely does one event take the average
person from childhood to adulthood. But
if you can show how an event or accom-
plishment served as the catalyst for the
process of maturation, go for it.
The Additional Information
This new, general section near the end
of the Common App gives you a chance to
write up to 650 words on anything that you
feel is important for the admissions offi-
cers to know. This is an optional section,
so if you use it, make sure that you’re not
wasting the admission reader’s time.
Most counselors do not recommend
that you paste your resumé here, unless
there is something unusual on it that is not
Although there are revisions
throughout the Common App, it’s
the Writing section that showcases
the biggest changes.
Continued on p. 70
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