Admissions Essay Writing: Using Storytelling to your Advantage

People are fascinated by autobiographies and memoirs. Ever thought about why? Because they all tell a compelling story. They provide us with a chance to see through another person’s eyes, to experience and feel as though we are living their life. Stories remain one of the most efficient ways to transfer information to others. The affinity for a good story has been present in all of us since we were children. You might be writing an admissions essay or cover letter for a job application. Whatever the reason, a good story can take the readers from hundreds of distractions from the real world and hook them into the material and message you want to convey. A narrative essay can touch on experimental, anecdotal, or personal stories in academic writing. Here are some of the ways to use storytelling to your advantage:

The power of storytelling is not new; we have discovered it recently owing to the decreasing attention spans. Centuries ago, Aristotle figured out the key factors that make up a good story. You need to tell a credible story to persuade your reader or listener. A storyteller must stir the reader’s emotions, pique their curiosity and engage their imagination as we go along with the story. The three most important ingredients in any good story are Ethos (credibility), Pathos (emotions), and Logos (reasoning). The success of a storyteller is in weaving these three elements seamlessly into the story they are presenting. In storytelling, each pause and emphasis play a significant role in giving the audience climax and suspense. A writer is at a significant disadvantage compared to a speaker, as they cannot tell their stories in a way a speaker could.


Stories in an admissions essay should be told chronologically. This is important; it takes the reader through a journey that is clear and devoid of any confusion. It is important to hook the readers to the story from the very first sentence. It is one of the most challenging parts of any essay writing. Your story must introduce a plot, setting, and characters and reflect your unique life perspective. In writing personal narrative stories, we tend to use ‘I’ often, but be sure not to overuse it. The overuse of ‘I’ will surely make you sound self-centred. When you are narrating a past story, make sure to use proper tenses to provide more clarity to the reader. You can introduce punchlines or quotes if you find them necessary. When you write an admissions essay, it is best to recollect a time when you faced a challenge or failure and describe how you overcame them. Be sure to include the lessons you learned from your experience, as it gives the reader an idea of what kind of a person you are.