What's your flavor?

Some things you may not know about me….

  • My daddy thought about naming me Teeosha. My mother thought that naming me Teeosha would be cruel and unusual punishment (I concur) and insisted on naming me after her best friend. My mother won and I was named Nettisha after my mother’s best friend, Nettie Mae. My dad got over it.
  • I’m a horrible speller. My 1st grade teacher said that I misspelled words because I think too far ahead?… I still don’t get it. And I still can’t speell.
  • I don’t think there are many things better than a really good cheeseburger. Do you?
  • I like to read teen lit and cheap paperback books with cheesy covers to unwind (things like Twilight, and Sookie Stackhouse novels)…and I’m okay with that.
  • I would like to eventually be a high school college counselor…or a college professor…or a chef. I have no clue what I want to be when I grow up.

Every year, we ask you the same question. Every year, we ask you to tell us something about yourself. We give you the task of sharing something with us that we may not otherwise have gathered from the rest of your application. That’s hard to do. I understand. So, I wanted to give you a bit of advice. I’ll preface this by saying that this is only my opinion. I can only speak to what makes a good essay for me, not for any other school or for any other W&M dean for that matter.

As I read through applications, I can’t help but think that many applicants don’t take full advantage of the opportunity presented with the essay.  I think it’s easy for us to use the essay to regurgitate a more lyrical/wordy resume sans bullet points.  Or, to talk about the classes we’ve taken and why we think academically we are prepared for a “selective institution such as that of William and Mary.”

I’m totally not downing that approach. However, I do think that there are more creative ways to use your 500 words. First things first…step away from the thesaurus function. Second and more importantly, relax. We (the committee) are people, just like you. We probably read the same books, and watch the same television shows. Don’t think of it as if you need to sell yourself to us. Don’t tell me what you think I want to know. Tell me what you want me to know. Tell me what you’d like for me to share with the committee.  Tell me why it would be fun, or inspirational, or interesting, or exciting to be your classmate. Remember that we are trying to build a class here; a dynamic, fun, quirky, class of students who bring diverse perspectives and unique outlooks.

Think of it this way. I equate creating a class to building a really good soup.  Every ingredient impacts the flavor. Just like soup is about more than its broth, the class is about so much more than the academic makeup. It’s about the small nuances that make this freshman class as or more special than the one before.  I want to close your folder feeling as if I know at least a little about who you are and how you can contribute to the soup. So, have it. Tell me about you. Tell me what you’d like me to know. Tell me what you’d like me to share with the committee. Tell me what flavor you will be adding to the pot.

- Tish Lyte