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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.
It’s impossible to write an article covering every possible essay prompt you could encounter in the college application process. S., the types of questions vary somewhat among different schools – to say nothing of what you might encounter at schools in other countries. For some good examples, here are the five questions from this year’s Common Application (a kind of “master application” accepted by many U. colleges and universities): As you can see, these questions are all very open-ended. Colleges want to give you as much freedom as possible to show them who you are.
The prompts are just supposed to be starting points.
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.
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.Here are a few things to avoid writing about: Really, the success of your essay will come down not to what you write about, but how.In general, it’s much easier to stand out on the basis of how you approach your topic than what you say.The point of this exercise is twofold: These are all jumping off points for the essay.They’ll get you started, but simply writing about these things alone isn’t enough.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.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.This is especially important to note if you’re aiming to attend a very competitive school – everyone applying is going to have a high GPA, a laundry list of advanced classes, and will have been president of every student organization since the dawn of mankind. So treat a college application essay as a tool for standing out in ways the robots can’t.It’s a lot like the cover letter you write when applying for a job – it’s your chance to reveal the person behind the accomplishments and statistics.