Write a winning student-athlete college essay

October 29, 2021

Turn your athletic experience into a winning college application

Back away from the field to take in the big picture. Sports involve skill, exercise, dedication, teamwork, and humility. If you need some other prompts on the value of athletics, read this post.

Writing about your athletic experience is more profound than “It felt great to catch the final out of the game.” The point of a college essay is to show the reader the athlete behind the stats. Who are you?

You might be one of the thousands of teenagers who plays a sport in high school, but has no plans to continue into college. That’s perfectly fine, but you still might want to write about the impact sports has on your life.

Here’s a great example from a young man who shifted from baseball player to umpire. The young author tells a story that anyone can relate to, and – spoiler alert – it’s not about being the most skilled person on the team.

The reverse is also true. A star athlete can write a compelling story about something surprising and personal. From College Essay Advisors:

The notion that all student who play sports write college essays about their athletic pursuits is simply inaccurate. Last year one our our students, a star football player, wrote about his aptitude for solving puzzles. Another student on the school rowing team wrote about her family’s immigration story.

Caroline Koppelman is a college admissions consultant who breaks down some essays from student-athletes. These examples might give you some ideas.

Why does your coach think sports are so important?

As with any essay, get some help from people who have lived the topic. Start with a coach or strength trainer. Ask open ended questions like:

  • What’s an example of how the human body responds to physical exercise?
  • What are some benefits of athletics during my job search?
  • What’s most rewarding to you about being a coach?

For more writing prompts, check out this list

Time management is one of the most important soft skills you’ll ever develop. So we’ll leave you with this TEDx Talk by a student-athlete in Park City, Utah. 

Now get on your keyboard and turn your life experiences into a winning essay!