What we should be talking about is appropriate rigor. If the student will get a C or lower, then she should reconsider. Last year was certainly a little different in that many schools that would not normally go to their waitlists had to do so. But students and parents should not assume that this will happen again this year. It may play out the same, or because of the economy students may be more discerning regarding the number of schools they apply to.
If you are writing about what makes you unique, special or interesting, ask your oldest and closest friends. They may be able to describe what makes you special better than you can. It is important to think out of the box and really write about something that you know and have passion for—do not pick a topic that you think we want to read about. The purpose of the essay is to help the admissions committee fully understand the potential difference you can make in the class and how your background and experience will move the campus community forward.
What is the degree of attention paid by this school to the undergraduate educational experience? If superstar faculty members never cross the threshold of an undergraduate classroom, what will be the value to you? If research is valued more highly than quality teaching, and some faculty only do research or work with graduate students, what will be the value to you? You want to find a place where faculty are enthusiastic about teaching undergraduates, where they are accessible to students, and where they include them in their research.
This college will be your home for four years, and you want to know that it is focused on providing you the best possible opportunities to grow both intellectually and personally. The admissions decision is as much a journey of the head as it is the heart—let both organs speak to you and then translate what they say into your application.
Ballinger, director of undergraduate admissions, University of Washington, Seattle. Kathleen Kingsbury covers education for The Daily Beast. The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool. If you are using the Common App to apply for college admission in , you will have — words to respond to ONE of the following prompts: Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in.
Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you believe in. Avoid a rehash of the accomplishments on your high school resume and choose something that the admissions committee will not discover when reading the rest of your application. But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance!
The obstacle you write about can be large or small, but you must show the admissions committee how your perspective changed as a result. Your answer to this question could focus on a time you stood up to others or an experience when your own preconceived view was challenged.
Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific! This essay is designed to get at the heart of how you think and what makes you tick. Present a situation or quandary and show steps toward the solution. Admissions officers want insight into your thought process and the issues you grapple with, so explain how you became aware of the dilemma and how you tackled solving it.
Describe the event or ccomplishment that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed. Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection—pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth. This prompt is an invitation to write about something you care about. So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you. Colleges are looking for curious students, who are thoughtful about the world around them.
Make sure you explain how you pursue your interest, as well. Test Your College Knowledge! You can even write your own question! Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2.
Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them:. Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln. Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you. Be honest and specific when you respond to this question.
Get insightful tips on how to write an effective college application essay and set yourself apart from other applicants.
College admissions officers read thousands of college application essays. These tips and strategies can help you make a strong impression.
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A Favorite Essay Tip From a College Application Veteran by j9robinson | Jul 6, I loved a recent post by my friend, Lynn O’Shaughessy, who is a fellow journalist and now the international guru for creative ways to pay for college. Your essay can give admission officers a sense of who you are, as well as showcasing your writing skills. Try these tips to craft your college application essay.