How to Write the Georgetown “Special Talents” Essay
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by CollegeVine co-founder Vinay Bhaskara in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
Georgetown University’s first supplemental essay prompt asks:
Indicate any special talents or skills you possess. (250 words)
Students often ask how creative they should get with essays like this, or any supplemental essay for that matter. An essay is usually an opportunity to be as creative as you want, although there are some exceptions depending on the nature of the question.
In cases like this where you’re asked to write about a personal skill or talent, students have free reign to be creative with their essay provided that their response aligns with the values of the college or university that they’re applying to.
What Counts as a Talent?
The word talent can often trip students up. When you read the word “talent,” there’s a tendency to immediately jump into a discussion of your best subject in school or an extracurricular that you’re performing well in. While these can certainly be examples of talents, you’re not restricted to writing about a talent in the traditional sense. In fact, some of the best responses to this prompt are about some of our more intangible talents.
One example is being good at diffusing or navigating conflict. You could write about how you’ve leveraged your sense of humor to calm or disarm others in an incredibly tense situation. Writing about a more intangible talent or soft skill can bring a level of creativity to the essay that traditional topics like academics or extracurricular activities wouldn’t necessarily introduce.
That isn’t to say, however, that you can’t write an impressive essay about the skills or accomplishments demonstrated through your resume. The prompt allows you a lot of flexibility by not qualifying what constitutes a skill or talent, so be sure to pick something meaningful to you that you can write a compelling essay about, whatever your talent may be.
Crafting Your Approach
Avoid Recreating Your Resume
As you begin drafting your essay, it’s important not to simply rewrite your resume as an essay. While you can certainly call out specific accomplishments and activities relevant to your talent, the essay is an opportunity to provide context and highlight your personal voice and experiences. Consider showcasing some of the unique non-academic experiences you’ve had that relate back to your talent. For example, perhaps you are a great problem solver and you’ve learned to apply that ability to things like fixing cars or building puzzles.
Incorporate Your Voice
Finally, remember to have fun with your essay! Georgetown’s application includes some pretty serious and heavy questions, and, while it’s important to have a strong and present voice in all of your writing, the first prompt is a particularly good opportunity to have fun and really get creative.
At the end of the day, college essay prompts are indeed meant for you to speak directly to your reader about your interests, but also for you to demonstrate what you would bring to the campus as an individual learner. Therefore, you should focus on crafting a strong personal voice and showing the reader not only your talent, but what your unique experiences and reflections will bring to their community.
Looking for more insight on what makes a successful Georgetown essay? Check out this article for sample essays from real applicants as well as our take on what made each essay successful and what could make them even better!