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The college application essays are often the college application component where students experience the most stress, and the element where they’re more likely to make mistakes.College admissions essays, from personal statements to school-specific supplements, are not rocket science, but there are a number of steps that students can take to put together the most accurate and compelling essays that will help their chances of gaining admission to their top-choice colleges.
When writing about a meaningful experience or event, you don’t have to give a long timeline of events.
Instead, give the reader the piece of the puzzle that conveys your message. With upwards of 25 or more essays to write for a balanced college list of 10-12 schools, it’s tempting for students to repurpose essays across applications if the prompts are similar.
DON’T use the personal statement essay to repeat your resume. The personal statement is your opportunity to reveal something about yourself that can’t be found anywhere else in your application – use it!
Many students use this essay to expound upon activities or interests that are already heavily demonstrated in their application through courses, the activity list, and more.
While students can use the same main essay on the Common App for multiple schools, we always recommend that students tailor their supplemental essays to the individual colleges.
Telling Harvard why you want to attend Columbia is a quick way to end up in the “no” pile." essays, make sure you mention specific things about the college in question that you could benefit from, and that other colleges don't offer.If there are no such things, why are you applying to the college at all?According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, application essays are the most important “soft” factors, or non-quantitative elements, that colleges consider when making admission decisions, right behind “hard” factors, or quantitative components, like grades, curriculum, and test scores.The personal statement and other essays and short answer questions, in conjunction with recommendations, extracurricular activities, and other qualitative application elements, can provide admissions committees with context and details about students that can’t be found anywhere else in the application.Not only does this show colleges that you’ve have done your homework, but it also demonstrates your interest in the college – and colleges want to admit students who are likely to enroll.Show your knowledge of the college by mentioning specific courses, professors, places of interest, and more.But as says, a creative, well-crafted essay is more likely to get you remembered.I have little to go on besides personal experience and a number of anecdotes, but I will say this: My essays to Pomona and University of Chicago were no masterpieces of style, but I decided to write about topics that interested me, and frame them in an offbeat way. My essay for Swarthmore could charitably be called uninspiring. Oh, and here's another tip: For "Why X college?Spelling and grammar errors can take away from an otherwise stellar essay – so be mindful. This is one of the most common mistakes that students make.In the pursuit to write the perfect essay, many forget to connect it to the original prompt.