What Do Admissions Officers Want to Read?

Today’s post on the New York Time’s blog, The Choice, emphasizes the same points we make when we talk to students and parents about what makes a strong application essay. Our advice – based on conversations with admissions officers all over the country – never varies:

  1. Your application essay is a story about you. It’s not about poor orphans in Ecuador, your Great Aunt Lucy or the time you ran for student government. It’s about how that person or experience affected you. Are you different now? Did you learn something meaningful about yourself?
  2. A personal essay should answer two important questions: 1) What happened? and 2) Why does it matter? Students often have a hard time with the “Why does it matter?” part.
  3. Your writing voice is unique, personal and special. Let it shine through. Don’t get too much help polishing your work, or your voice will get lost.  We help our students find their stories, and we help them tell those stories in their own words, in their own voices.

Everyone has a story to tell. If more students (and parents!) would relax and let those stories emerge, the essay wouldn’t seem like such a stumbling block; it would be seen as the opportunity it is – to tell people you may never meet  something real about yourself.

If you need help, give us a call. We know how to help you stand out.