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.
Show how you fit into the campus culture and how you will impact the community through specific examples.
DON’T say what you think the admissions office wants to hear.
Instead of writing what you think the admissions office wants to read, write about what you want them to know.
Again, the essay is a great space to reveal something new about you, so stand out by being yourself and showing another side of you as a person or student. Using lofty language and complex sentence structure can make you sound sophisticated, but is that really how you speak?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.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.Your college counselor can provide valuable insight into how to improve your college application essays, so seek feedback on your drafts as soon as possible.School-based counselors have a lot of students to advise and are very busy, so seek guidance early and often.Take the time to write original responses to all the prompts.It’s a lot of work, but it will pay off in the end. When tailoring responses to individual college prompts, it’s important to use specific details you’ve learned through visiting and research.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.