Many students start their college admission essay at the last minute, believing it does not make nearly as much difference as grades, SAT test scores, and extracurriculars. However, college admission officers take the admission essay as a serious assessment of a student’s ability to connect with the reader. As the following article states, it’s not just about an error-free essay that gets the job done, it’s about putting your personality on a plate and showing the college what you can truly offer. This takes time, and it takes support from a college admission essay expert, who can provide one-on-one guidance throughout the essay-writing process.
A student who writes a boring essay about scoring the winning goal in a playoff soccer game against the school’s arch-rival has put herself at a considerable disadvantage. She’s not on the same footing as a student who writes a moving essay about how his family turned his home in a Texas border town into a fortress to prevent his physician father from being kidnapped by drug smugglers.
If you’re about to counter that evaluating college essays is inherently subjective, you’d be wrong. While two Ivy League admissions officers can certainly evaluate one essay differently, it’s a rare occasion when Ivy League admissions officers are completely divided about whether or not an essay is powerful enough to make a case for an applicant to be admitted. Of the tens of thousands of college essays that are received each year, powerful essays are few and far between.
You’d be amazed how many college essays focus on a trip to Europe, which says in flashing lights to admissions officers that the applicant’s parents can afford to pay for such a trip — often triggering jealousy. Other essays turn out to be one giant cliché. It could be an essay about overcoming an injury to mount an athletic comeback. It could be about volunteering at a local soup kitchen. It could be about building homes with Habit for Humanity in Costa Rica. Ivy League admissions officers read these same topics in droves year after year and these essays are just as boring as they were the last time they read them.
Upon reading the first few lines of one of these cliché essays, the reader knows just where the essay is going. There is little room for surprise and there’s a good chance the reader may not even finish reading the essay in its entirety. Yet because admissions officers read thousands of college essays, it’s easy for them to spot a good one almost instantly. A first line can often make or break an applicant. An essay that grabs the reader might start something like, “In a previous life, I was a pirate; in this life, I am a storyteller” or “In this age of high definition video games and wireless devices, I’ve never kicked liking LEGOs.” And essays with openings such as, “According to Webster’s Dictionary…” will likewise put admissions officers to make like Rip Van Winkle.