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Neither Snotty Nor Saintly

By: Miss Marm

Writing about volunteer work is really tough. You don't want to sound snotty, saintly, clueless, politically correct, or phony. And it's hard not to sound like you're all of those things, even if—especially if—you're passionate about your volunteerism and eager to get across how much it means to you.

This Sparkler, who is writing a college admissions essay, avoids most of the pitfalls of writing about volunteering—but not all. Here's the prompt he's responding to:

One definition of sacrifice is "to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else." In no more than 300 words, describe a time when you put the significant needs of someone else ahead of your own.

Here's his excellent opening

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