A just released survey of independent college consultants confirms the college essay is more important than you may know. This year the college essay moved up to the Independent Educational Consultant’s Association’s Top 10 list of what colleges are really looking for in applicants.
Also on the list: a rigorous high school curriculum, continuous improvement, solid test scores, leadership and letters of recommendation. The independent consultant group surveys hundreds of college consultants every couple of years.
According to IECA members, colleges want to know what type of student will be arriving on campus—not who the student was four years ago.
“What we learn most in viewing these results is that students should shy away from efforts to change themselves into what they think colleges seek and learn to promote the best thing about themselves,” said IECA Executive Director Mark Sklarow. “Whether that’s a willingness to challenge themselves in a difficult course, demonstrating passion for a particular subject, committing themselves to community service, or demonstrating leadership. Students should seek to make their application reflect the best of who they already are.”
The essay is the perfect venue for demonstrating who a student is. As competition becomes fiercer, schools continue to add essay requirements. Admissions counselors need ways to get to know applicants on a more personal level, and many do not have time or resources to do personal interviews. In many cases, the essay is a substitute for that face-to-face interview.
“Admissions people want was a well-written essay that provides insight into the student’s unique personality, values, and goals,” Sklarow said. “The application essay should be thoughtful and highly personal. It should demonstrate careful and well-constructed writing.”
Wow Writing Workshop can take students through a 10-step process to teach them how to turn everyday experiences into compelling stories to capture the attention of admissions counselors.