After a recent seminar I did for Collegewise families, one parent who filled out an evaluation answered the question, "Are there any other comments you'd like to share with us?" like this…
"I like bacon."
I don't know who wrote it (the evaluations are anonymous), but I like that parent already. This was probably a fun person, someone who knows how to enjoy him or herself, someone with a spirited personality. I have no way of knowing if my assumptions are accurate, but you can tell a lot from an answer like that.
College applications are the same way.
A lot of kids are so wrapped up in trying to sound impressive that they won't be playful even when the college is begging you to play. A question about why you want to attend this college requires a thoughtful answer. A question about your favorite food or what book you would bring to a desert island or what one person, living or dead, you would like to have dinner with is begging you to be yourself and have fun. Your answer doesn't necessarily have to be funny, but it should be true and revealing. There are no right or wrong answers–just use the opportunity to help the college get to know you a little better. So admit that you eat more Oreos than could possibly be healthy. Tell them there's no way you'd go the rest of your life on an island without Harry Potter. Come right out and admit that you'd want to have dinner with the lead singer from Coldplay so you could ask him to please stop writing songs.
A college will never come out and ask you to describe your personality. But they'll be looking for it in your answers. So make it easy for them to find it.