The 0utlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
~”Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Many of the introductory paragraphs we read from athlete applicants every week are reminiscent of the famously tongue-in-cheek, melodramatic “Casey at the Bat.” Fundamentally, that’s not a bad thing. Athletics are important and identity-shaping, and for that reason, they’re “game” (zing!) for the admissions context. However, what you don’t want to do is just write ‘another athletics essay,’ or diminish the sophistication of your application with a one-dimensional, melodramatic play-by-play. This is, afterall, the gateway to your admission. What are some questions all athlete applicants who choose to write about their sport should ask?
-What or whom originally inspired you to take up dressage? How has it factored into your life since and how has that relationship evolved?
-How does football play into your life off the football field? What are your meaningful off-field experiences and what have they taught you about your connection to the sport?
-What are the real motivators behind your goals in tennis? What’s really at stake? For now, voice even the unflattering alternatives. Do you love the sport, do you love to win, or do you love to crush an opponent? (Think Federer vs. Sampras vs. McEnroe.)
-What misconception do people have about badminton players, and why/how is that short-sighted? What might surprise people about your sport?
-What’s the real story behind your progress as an ice luger? How has your training integrated physical, mental and emotional conditioning (and growth)?
-What was the most memorable event in your personal sports history, aside from your greatest athletic accomplishment? Think abstractly too.
-What is your biggest weakness as an athlete, and what is your biggest regret?
These are just a few questions that will help many of you elicit texture in an otherwise predictable sports-themed admissions essay or personal statement. Of course, if you’re looking for more feedback, email us at email@example.com!
Ivy Eyes Editing