Expert Opinions on the College Admissions Process by

Displaying your accomplishments without bravado is harder than most people think, especially in an assignment like the college application essay, which, when done well, can be a vehicle for highlighting some of your best assets and triumphs. Admissions truly wants to know what distinguishes you from the competition, but who wants to read 650 words of someone tooting his or her own horn? (Not me!) Talking about yourself requires a fine balance between humility and horn tooting.

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Many admissions essays have prompts, such as the following:

It can be a taboo to mention impressing an admissions committee, but it is also idealistic to say “Just be yourself and you will end up exactly where you need to be.” Yes, you should be yourself, but not in a completely uncontrolled way. It is necessary to consider the values of different schools and demonstrate that your personal history aligns with those values. Try to be convincing. If you’re unable to be convincing without lying, you are applying to the wrong school or using the wrong approach.

College Admission Essay Samples - Essay Writing Center

I wrote two essays for the Common Application. The first essay was supposed to be a standard personal growth story. An exaggerated telling of a single night’s events, it came out sounding self-pitying and cloying. I spent about a month trying to rework it into something that represented me better, but I eventually threw it out and wrote an entirely different one. The second essay was weird. It was like...a listicle about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi7, written by a Joan Didion fanatic. But it was also sincere and revealing, and I loved it, especially after having it proofread and revising it many times. When December came around, I submitted it. I was not completely successful with college admissions, but I have no regrets about that essay.

7. Make something up about yourself just to impress the admissions readers.
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They can be the most important components of your application—the essays. It’s a chance to add depth to something that is important to you and tell the admissions committee more about your background or goals. Test scores only tell on part of your story, and we want to know more than just how well you work. We want to see how you actually think.These selections represent just a few examples of essays we found impressive and helpful during the past admissions cycle. We hope these essays inspire you as you prepare to compose your own personal statements. The most important thing to remember is to be original and creative as you share your own story, thoughts, and ideas with us.

Sample essay 2 with admissions feedback (article) | Khan Academy

The good news? Three former admissions officers I spoke to told me that, contrary to Steven's observations, officers read every essay that comes across their desks. "We definitely read the essays," says Joie Jager-Hyman, president of College Prep 360 and former admissions officer at Dartmouth College. "You don’t do that job unless you enjoy reading the essays. They’re kind of fun." Elizabeth Heaton, senior director of educational counseling at admissions-consulting firm College Coach, and former admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania, says she took notes on every single piece of writing a student submitted, whether she advocated for them or not.

Our 2017-18 Application Essay Questions | MIT Admissions

Most universities acknowledge that the admission essay-while only one component in the application package-is the best opportunity for acquainting the admissions officer with the student. The admission essay can help explain academic discrepancies, share stories that don't fit inside checked boxes, and answer peculiar questions. Our experienced writers have seen the ways in which admissions essays have changed over the years. We stay abreast of trends in college admissions and pay attention to what universities are looking for in a candidate.

Admissions Essays | Full-Time MBA Program | Berkeley-Haas

Unlike every other aspect of the application, you control your essay. Make sure that the glimpse you give the admission committee into your character, background, and writing ability is the very best possible. Here are seven tips to help you focus and make the most of your application essay.