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What Does Your Favorite Movie Have To Do With Your Winning College Essay?

Updated: Jun 5, 2021

An interactive exercise to help clarify your personal statement using the Narrative Construct approach.

This is an interactive blog post, so before reading further, I invite you to grab your favorite writing utensil, (I love my well-worn journal and my blue, uni-ball vision elite pen) and take a moment to write and reflect on the following questions, based on Mark Savickas's Narrative Construct Approach:

  1. Who did you admire when you were growing up? Write about them in detail.

  2. Do you read any magazines or watch any TV shows regularly? Which ones? What do you like about these magazines or TV shows?

  3. What is your favorite book or movie? Write about the story.

  4. What is your favorite saying or motto?

  5. What are your earliest recollections? Write about three things that you recall happening when you were three to six years old.

Got it? Great.


Now consider that a winning personal statement is one that unveils your true self and demonstrates what makes you unique. Admissions representatives want to know who they are accepting into their community. Any college worth their weight will look for essays with truth, heart, and vulnerability - plus these are the topics that tend to draw out our best writing skills, so win-win.

Now, open a new, blank page and write these words: "I am concerned about..." Go back and look at what you wrote for the last question, and continue that sentence using your response. Does it resonate? How can you connect that to your intended field of study? What problems are you hoping to solve in the future?

Now start a new paragraph and write the words "I am / I am becoming..." Go back and look at your response to question 1. What qualities does your childhood role model have? Is that who you are now, or who you are becoming? Write about it.

New paragraph starts with "I like being places where people do activities such as..." Continue with your response to question 2. This is the setting of your narrative, it is where you're headed. Can you make any connections between this, and your top-choice colleges?

The next paragraph is the script of your life narrative. You can start with "The plot of my favorite book or movie is... Therefore, in these places I want to..." What truth can you glean from the stories you enjoy reading or listening to? Notice any themes in your own life?

Question 4 is your advice to yourself. Try writing "the best advice I can give myself is..." Again, how can you connect this back to your intended college or field of study?

While this may not be the entirety of your personal statement, it can be a great place to start and an excellent way to clarify who you are, what challenges you've faced, what you bring to the table and where you're headed. This is the start of an excellent personal statement.

Did you gain any insight or inspiration from this exercise? I'd love to hear from you, and read what you wrote. If you're willing, you can email it to me at


Need some help writing a winning college essay? I'm here for you. Contact me or set up a free consultation here.


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