Excellent tips on writing college admission essays
While your standardized test scores and grades can assure you are a competitive applicant, they won’t make you stand out in a strong applicant pool. Extracurricular activities and recommendations help inform admission committees what you do in and out of class, but rarely serve to significantly differentiate applicants unless they speak to unusual talents or characteristics.
a few of their pointers:
- Don’t make more of something than is warranted. Even if it’s true, it may not be credible, and you should avoid turning seemingly trivial events into profound insights or action. Such as realizing the true value of education after failing a quiz or resolving to work towards world equality after participating in community service for one afternoon.
- The admissions committee wants to hear from you. It may be tempting to think there’s a right way to write the essay and rely heavily on feedback from teachers, peers or parents to “improve” your essay. It’s fine to gauge what others think of your approach but you’d be wrong to assume that others know more about crafting the perfect essay about you than you! Using too much feedback to write your essay runs the risk of muddying your own voice – that distinctive perspective and personality which admissions committees are eager to get to know. It’s O.K. if it’s not what an adult would write. After all, you are just 17 years old and if you were already perfect, there would be no need for you to go to college.
- Think how you can leverage your native culture, traditions and experiences in your essay. When applying to schools in the United States, don’t try to “Americanize” your application by focusing on your trip to the United States or even your participation in out of class activities prevalent in the United States. It won’t help differentiate you and may make your candidacy less appealing. A more general mistake in essays is for the writer to try to fit into the mainstream at the school. Writing about how interested you are in pursuing political science at a college renowned for its political science program doesn’t differentiate you from others.
(via Tips on American College Admissions Essays, From a Veteran Dean - NYTimes.com)