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Every piece of advice you have ever received on the purpose of the college essay is wrong. The college essay is a page-long assignment given to you by a school, to be completed by a certain date. The purpose of the college essay is to get into college.You are familiar with this construct, work to do at given to you by a school, due by a certain date, otherwise known as homework. If you ask just about anyone what the purpose of the college essay is, they will say — with glazed eyes — “to let the admissions office get to know you.” But instead, you should write something that you think will make someone be measurably more likely to admit you to college.- The essay is really neat in that it's one of the only places in the application where they have complete control.
- One piece of advice I would give to every student is to ask someone who know's them a little bit, to read their essay and to tell them what impressions they have of you after reading the essay.
- I think the essays that work best are actually quite simple.
The key is to write for a purpose beyond self-expression, much like how you do all of your homework with the objective of getting a good grade. What will get you into college is writing an essay that will be distinguished from the rest. By the time someone is considering your essay, they have reviewed your grades, your scores, two teacher recommendations and a guidance report, and your activity list. Think outside of the box and say something different.
They know you in most ways that are relevant to admit you to a school. Don’t restate something in your resume and then just add “and everyone thanked me” at the end. Over 70 percent of students choose just three of the seven Common Application prompts (overcoming obstacles, discuss an accomplishment, topic of your choice). Choose one that focuses on a specific anecdote rather than the three asking for your whole life story.
- I think my favorite essay that I've ever read came from a student in the midwest.
And he wrote about working at a fast food restaurant.
So I always advice students to stick to the simple things that you know.
And the essays that stand out the most in my mind are about simple, simple things, very everyday topics.
I think students get really caught up in thinking that this essay has to emcompass your entire life and it has to be groundbreaking and, you know, publishable quality.
And that's a lot to ask of a high school student.