Personal Storytelling in College Admissions: Lessons from Brittany Stinson

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 592 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Dec 28, 2023

Words: 592|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Dec 28, 2023


Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Authenticity and Relatability
  3. Connecting on a Human Level
    The Power of Vulnerability
  4. Defining Character and Values
  5. Illustrating Growth and Resilience
    Expressing Passion and Aspirations
  6. Creating a Memorable Narrative
  7. Engaging Openings
    Story Arc and Resolution
  8. Lessons from Brittany Stinson's Essay
  9. Be Genuine and Reflective
    Show, Don't Just Tell
    Edit and Seek Feedback
  10. Conclusion


College admissions have always been competitive, with applicants striving to stand out in a sea of impressive academic achievements and extracurricular activities. However, in recent years, the power of personal storytelling has gained prominence as a means of differentiating oneself in the admissions process. This essay delves into the significance of personal storytelling in college admissions, drawing valuable lessons from the success of Brittany Stinson's viral college essay. Stinson's essay not only secured her acceptance into multiple prestigious universities but also serves as a compelling example of how the art of storytelling can be a game-changer in the admissions journey.

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Authenticity and Relatability

One of the key reasons Brittany Stinson's essay captured the attention of admissions committees is its authenticity and relatability.

Connecting on a Human Level

Stinson's essay opens a window into her life, her experiences, and her values. It allows readers to connect with her on a human level, transcending the statistics and achievements listed on her application.

The Power of Vulnerability

By sharing personal stories of self-doubt and imperfection, Stinson demonstrates vulnerability. This vulnerability is a powerful tool in personal storytelling, as it makes the applicant more relatable and empathetic to admissions officers who have likely faced similar challenges in their own lives.

Defining Character and Values

A well-crafted personal essay can reveal an applicant's character and values, providing insights that transcripts and test scores alone cannot convey.

Illustrating Growth and Resilience

Stinson's essay showcases her journey from self-doubt to self-acceptance, highlighting her resilience and determination. Admissions committees look for applicants who have the potential to grow and thrive in a college environment, and personal storytelling can demonstrate that potential effectively.

Expressing Passion and Aspirations

Through storytelling, applicants can express their passion for a particular field of study or their aspirations for making a positive impact on society. This allows admissions officers to envision the contributions an applicant might make to their academic community.

Creating a Memorable Narrative

Successful personal storytelling in college admissions involves creating a memorable narrative that lingers in the minds of admissions officers.

Engaging Openings

Stinson's essay begins with an engaging and unexpected opening—a description of her fascination with Costco. This not only grabs the reader's attention but also sets the tone for a unique and memorable story.

Story Arc and Resolution

A well-structured narrative follows a story arc with a clear beginning, middle, and resolution. Stinson's essay takes readers on a journey through her experiences, culminating in a moment of self-acceptance and growth.

Lessons from Brittany Stinson's Essay

Brittany Stinson's viral college essay offers valuable lessons for prospective college applicants seeking to harness the power of personal storytelling in their own admissions essays.

Be Genuine and Reflective

Applicants should strive to be genuine and reflective in their essays. Authenticity is a key element of effective storytelling. Reflecting on personal experiences and their impact can lead to compelling narratives.

Show, Don't Just Tell

Instead of listing accomplishments or stating qualities, applicants should use storytelling to illustrate their character, values, and aspirations. Providing concrete examples and anecdotes allows admissions officers to draw their own conclusions about the applicant's qualities.

Edit and Seek Feedback

Stinson's essay likely underwent multiple revisions and received feedback from trusted advisors. Applicants should be willing to edit and refine their essays to ensure clarity, coherence, and impact.

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The success of Brittany Stinson's viral college essay highlights the transformative potential of personal storytelling in college admissions. By sharing authentic, relatable, and well-structured narratives, applicants can differentiate themselves and convey their character, values, and aspirations effectively. Stinson's essay serves as a reminder that behind the numbers and achievements, there are unique stories waiting to be told—stories that have the power to captivate admissions committees and open the doors to higher education.

Works Cited

  • Stinson, Brittany. “Brittany Stinson’s College Essay.” 2016.
  • Hoffman, Lynn F., et al. “Assessing leadership in admissions essays: The impact of quantity versus quality.” International Journal of Educational Management 31.5 (2017): 630-641.
  • Milosavljević, Nebojša, and Bojana Bulatović. “College application essays: Going beyond ‘how to write an essay’.” English Teaching: Practice and Critique 17.2 (2018): 208-222.
  • Bauld, Harry. “On Writing the College Application Essay.” Collins Reference, 2012.
  • Norton, Quinn, and John Schlueter. “The College Essay: A Comprehensive Guide.” Writers Digest Books, 2020.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Personal Storytelling in College Admissions: Lessons from Brittany Stinson. (2023, December 28). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Personal Storytelling in College Admissions: Lessons from Brittany Stinson.” GradesFixer, 28 Dec. 2023,
Personal Storytelling in College Admissions: Lessons from Brittany Stinson. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Personal Storytelling in College Admissions: Lessons from Brittany Stinson [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Dec 28 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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