College admissions officers say that more high school seniors than usual are writing their college essays about money issues. Applicants are tackling everything from foreclosures to parents getting laid off and how money fits into the happiness equation. Ron Lieber is the Your Money columnist for The New York Times. This week, he invited college applicants to send some of their finance-related essays to the paper.
“We’ve gotten a couple dozen already. I was expecting a lot of essays about class and discovering what it really means to be wealthy or what it really means to be poor. And we got some of those,” says Lieber. “But the ones that have stuck out so far are ones that are actually about what it means to work and what it means not to work.”
An Invitation for High School Seniors to Write About Finances The New York Times’ Your Money team’s is asking high school seniors who are applying for college this year to send them application essays that have anything at all to do with money, working, class, the economy and affluence (or lack thereof). Email them to: Moneyessays@nytimes.com
For many students, just coming up with something important and self-reflective to write about is a challenge. But Lieber’s advice is to be strategic.
“[College admissions officers] want to hear real-life stories from the trenches from people who have lived them and they want to know what it meant to you and how it changed your life,” says Lieber.
But wouldn’t it be risky to write about a topic as mundane as money? Lieber argues the opposite.
“While it it something that we touch and deal with each day, there are very few people who talk about it honestly, who think about it openly, and have the courage to address it head on,” says Lieber. “Because we all talk about it all the time, but we’ve been shamed into thinking that it’s something you don’t really talk about in polite, mixed company and that it’s risky in some shape or form. But in fact, again, these admissions officers are looking for authenticity. They want to hear you speak honestly about things that are important. And so when you’re looking for the perfect topic, it would seem to me that money would be at the top of the list, not at the bottom.”
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