Even if you’re only applying to a couple schools that you know you can get into, it will still serve you well to write a compelling admissions essay.Standing out from everyone else could put you in the running for additional scholarships and will also simply make a good impression, which never hurts.
When you’re juggling transcripts, forms, dates, and everything else, it’s easy to brush off the college application essay as “just another part of the application.”However, while it’s true that the essay isn’t the only thing that matters to college admissions officers, a great essay can actually compensate for less than stellar grades. Most of the other parts of the application are just lists and statistics: GPA, courses taken, a list of extracurriculars, maybe some work or volunteer experience.
This stuff matters…but it doesn’t make you special.
Here’s what a first attempt at describing this might look like: The first time I marched in front of a crowd, I was so nervous.
We got into formation, took the field, and began to play.
The two biggest mistakes that most students make when writing a college app essay are: Vagueness isn’t a problem unique to admissions essays.
It’s something all writers struggle with – including myself; I struggled with it while writing this very article. I believe the main cause of the problem is that there’s a disconnect between With all the knowledge you have of a topic, it can seem that a few simple sentences are enough to do it justice – but that’s rarely the case.That said, you can set yourself up for success from the start by choosing a topic that lets you show your strengths.Don’t pick a prompt just because you think answering it will make you sound “impressive.” This quote by former Stanford University Dean of Admissions Robin Mamlet focuses on course selection, but it applies perfectly to essays as well: it that matters.You have to remember that the person reading your essay knows nothing about you, save for a few basic statistics.Furthermore, they likely know nothing about the subject of your essay.There are so many ways to succeed at these essays, so long as you keep your approach interesting.And the best way to be interesting is to avoid boring, overused answers that admissions officers will have read literally thousands of times.Whatever application process you’re going through, you’ll likely have a choice of several questions.Don’t get overwhelmed trying to pick the right one.Even if they do, they certainly don’t have the same knowledge and perspective that you have.To close this gap, you need to be as specific as possible. Let’s say you’ve decided to write about your time in high school marching band; specifically, you’re recounting the first time your performed with the band in front of a crowd (I use this example because it’s something I’m personally familiar with).