Describing a historical figure in your application paper

When colleges first started asking for application papers, colleges simply wanted to learn more about their applicants. They asked for papers about life experiences, lessons learned, and influential personalities. Now, colleges are asking for more complex topics that indirectly show what type of a person you are and whether or not you are prepared to step into the collegiate world. Colleges will ask about current events, historical events, and they often ask about opinions on issues that may or may not controversial. One common topic involves describing a historical figure, but with a twist.

What to Avoid When Featuring a Historical Figure

When it comes time to describe a historical figure, there are a few things to avoid. The first thing to avoid is writing as if you filling in a wikipedia page. You want to avoid being overly general because you are not writing a biography of the character. It is extremely important to avoid copying anything word-for-word from the Internet. Many students will write about characters that most people know and they write about common knowledge. If you do decide to include specialized facts in your description, it is vital that you avoid plagiarizing. Students who plagiarize, especially when applying for college will certainly not get accepted into their preferred colleges.

What to Do to Find Success on Your Application Paper

If you are writing about a historical figure, then you should be sure you take time to write well. You should be sure you know the facts about that character so you do not look foolish to the application committee. You should include in-text documentation as well as a works cited page if you do use sources to help you describe the character. Since most colleges are looking for more than just a character description, you will need to make sure you meet the added requirements of the paper. If you need to explain what you admire about this character, be very specific about the features you admire. If you need to compare and contrast this person with your personality traits, be vivid in your findings. Most importantly, you should show that you know what you are talking about, show that you have a command of the English language and writing, and show that you can have some fun when you write about your favorite historical character.

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