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Last updated June 29, 2023

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What College Essays About Gymnastics Should and Shouldn’t Do

Key Takeaway

When writing a college essay about gymnastics, you should avoid cliches. Instead, use gymnastics as a way to tell a deeper story about your life or highlight outstanding accomplishments.

If you weren’t already aware, college essays about sports are notorious among admissions officers.

Why? Because they’re really common and tend to be surface-level and full of cliches.

It’s a bummer, I know.

At this point, you might be wondering if you should reconsider writing your college essay about gymnastics.

I’ve got some good news for you.

Since gymnastics isn’t a very common sport, your admissions officers probably won’t have read many essays like yours. That means that you’ll have an easier time getting that 10/10.

But some ways of approaching your college essay about gymnastics are better than others.

Let’s get into it.

Avoid These Cliches When Writing About Gymnastics

We’ll kick things off by going over what not to do in your college essay. The following two approaches tend to be steeped in cliches and often don’t tell admissions officers much about the writer.

Gymnastics Changed Your Life on a Generic Level

One of the most common cliches in college essays about sports is an overstatement of the impact the sport has had.

Of course, gymnastics is bound to be a big, important part of your life if you want to write your college essay about it. It probably has changed your life!

But the key here is avoiding the “generic” description of how your life was changed. Avoid drawing only on simple themes of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Those traits are great ones to convey in your essay, but they shouldn’t be the main theme admissions officers take away.

Your Story is Only About How You Won/Lost/Got Injured

The other cliche to avoid is a convenient story about how you won or lost a competition or how you overcame an injury.

Again, it’s likely that you’ve had triumphant wins, devastating losses, and maybe even difficult injuries. But too often, students writing sports essays use a setback or a win as a way to make a convenient humble brag about how they are hard workers or resilient.

Remember that your personal statement should be about a core part of who you are, not only about a moment or a generic life lesson. You want it to be thoughtful, reflective, and even vulnerable. If you’re only focusing on a surface-level difficulty, you risk coming across as inauthentic to admissions officers.

Effective Ways to Write Your College Essay about Gymnastics

Alright, with those cliches out of the way, let’s take a look at two ways to write a college essay about gymnastics that will impress admissions officers.

Gymnastics Allows You to Tell a Deeper Story About Your Life

Some of the best college essays about gymnastics aren’t about gymnastics at all. They’re actually about a deeper life story that simply relates to gymnastics.

Maybe gymnasts run in your family and your participation has brought you closer to your parent or grandparent. Or maybe it’s how you met a specific person who influenced you or led you to become the person you are today. Or perhaps you learned a valuable lesson about who you are outside of gymnastics.

In this approach, you use gymnastics as a mechanism to tell an even more significant story about yourself. Admissions officers will see that gymnastics relates to a deeper part of you, and they’ll appreciate your vulnerability in going beyond what happened on the mat to truly reflect on the person you are today.

You Have an Outstanding Accomplishment in Gymnastics

Did you compete in the Olympics? Or win a national or international gymnastics competition? Your personal statement can be a great place to draw out those accomplishments and elaborate on how they impacted you and those around you.

If you go this route, the point isn’t to brag about how great you are at gymnastics. The admissions officer will be impressed by your accomplishments alone.

Instead, bring your accomplishments to life by reflecting on them meaningfully. Emphasize your magnitude, reach, and impact. How did the accomplishment affect you? How did it affect others? How notable or rare is it? What do you want admissions officers to learn about you through this accomplishment?

The Bottom Line

So should you write your college essay about gymnastics?

While you still run the risk of falling into overdone sports essay tropes, gymnastics is a less common sport that may help set your application apart.

Think about whether gymnastics allows you to tell the best story you want to tell, and if so, be sure to avoid these common themes and focus on what will create your cohesive application narrative.

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