USAFA Candidate Writing Sample (and other personal statements)

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by TheAspiringWon, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. TheAspiringWon

    TheAspiringWon Member

    Oct 13, 2015
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    Hello everyone,

    I just have this quick question regarding candidate writing samples and personal statements. Do the people who review candidates' personal statements frown upon brief personal narratives? Like, for the questions that ask, "Describe a time when... blah... blah.." will it be okay for me to open my response with an anecdote and eventually steer my response towards a direct answer? And for the questions that ask, "List leadership qualities... blah... blah..." should I just stick with listing a semi-long list of qualities I possess, or can I elaborate upon using mini stories?

    To iterate, I guess ultimately the thing I am unsure about is whether it will be okay to write my responses using personal anecdotes or not. My question stems from the UC school system's recent change regarding applicant essays (they got rid of their fluffy narrative essays and instead adapted the more straightforward "personal insight questions".)

    Hope what I am asking is a valid question and thank you for in advance!

    *Edit* Oops, I forgot to specify that I am asking this question for USAFA, USMA, USNA, and the other nomination sources. Thanks!!
  2. KLCman

    KLCman Member

    Dec 5, 2016
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    You can write your essays either way, depending on what you personally feel is more appropriate. Personally, I believe that is you give anecdotes, it gives more insight into your character.
  3. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

    Jan 31, 2015
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    I would agree with KLCman that including personal anecdotes can help shed more light on your character. Personally, if I were an admissions representative (which I admit I am not), I would be much more impressed if a candidate included specific examples of how he/she was working to uphold the Core Values in his/her life, than if the same candidate presented me only with a vague discussion about his or her interpretation of the theory behind the Core Values. Personalized answers tend to earn big points.

    I would also add another suggestion: don't be afraid to make your essays unique. They shouldn't be outrageous or go off on tangents, obviously, but thinking outside the box is not necessarily a bad thing. Making your essay "stick out" in the mind of the person reading it is a good way to earn some extra attention for your application, provided, of course, that the uniqueness complements the essay as it pertains to the prompt.
    LongRange99 likes this.

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