The “Who is Your Role Model and Why?” Admissions Essay

What They are Looking for in this Admissions Essay Question

The admissions committee believes that you have been heavily influenced by other people in your life. There are 2 questions they will be asking themselves as they read this admissions essay:

  1. Who did you select for your role model?

  2. How has he or she influenced you?

The Role Model You Select

Think hard about the people in your life and spend some time narrowing this list down to your role model. Many applicants will feel the need to write about some famous person in history such as Ghandi, Martin Luther King, or Abraham Lincoln. If you do decide to go with one of these individuals for your role model, be certain your essay doesn’t read like the hundreds of others that are certain to send the weary admissions staffs racing for the coffee machine.

Your better bet is to write about someone you know personally such as a teacher, coach, or grandparent. This can be more refreshing for your reader and you won’t risk sounding insincere and superficial like so many other applicants who choose a historical figure for their role model.

How this Role Model has Influenced You

Don’t forget that the admissions office also wants to know how you were influenced by the role model and not just the role model’s identity. Which nuggets of wisdom or personality traits have been most influenced by the role model you selected? Try to include a personal anecdote or two to help illustrate these points and bring your essay to life for your audience.

A Word of Caution…

The most frequent — and biggest — mistake we encounter with this admissions essay is that the application essay becomes too heavily focused on the role model instead of the applicant. Be sure that your essay is primarily focused on you. After all, you are the one the admissions staff is considering to admit!