Last Update: February 13, 2021

Write Your College Application Essay Based on What Admissions Officers Like!

What Admissions Officers Look for in a College Application Essay?

Wondering how to write that perfect college application essay? Well, let’s look at the admission officers themselves and what they like. This should guide your writing and help you create a perfect piece of text to show off yourself.

Let’s not beat around the bush and get straight to the things admissions officers look for:

Clear and Specific Goals in the College Admission Essay

Yes, the admissions committee wants, first of all, to see motivated applicants who have a clear plan for their future after graduation. At the same time, of course, everyone understands that in a year or two of training in a completely new environment, your priorities can change very much, but the vision and attitude are what makes the successful applicants stand out.

And for the selection committee to believe your goal, this goal must be clearly formulated in the college application essay. The more specific the goal, the more chances you will have the same specific plan for achieving it, and, accordingly, you will achieve it.

On the other hand, ambition and big goals are great, but the admissions office wants to make sure you can get a job in today’s economy. Therefore, the goals should look reasonably achievable in your college application essay. That is, ideally, they should be related to your education and experience.

For example, you initially need the degree to continue your father’s business (some private business). You’ve already worked there, but you did not have enough specific knowledge to be in a high position. Therefore, instead of gradual growth in the company, you chose intensive training at a business school. A logical and achievable goal.

Passions and Hobbies

Emotions are contagious! If you can talk about yourself and your plans with fire in your words, then the admission officers will be on your side. No big goal can be achieved without real passion and faith in it. Therefore, the energy in the college admission essay will surely evoke a positive response. An enthusiastic, lively person is likely to be an excellent colleague and classmate. Every university needs and wants such people.

For example, in your college applicant essay, you’re telling how you’re interested in management, education, and children and that you see yourself exclusively in work that affects all three interests. This is why you want to receive your first education in the field of business and at the same time work at school as both a teacher and an administrator – this is quite a big commitment, which is sure to provoke strong emotions from the admissions officer. Talking like this about a passion of yours (related to the degree) will admit you to any university you’ll apply to.

Individuality for the College Applicant Essay

Hundreds of essays are read by admissions officers at the world’s top universities. The ones that are purely cliché usually go unnoticed. If you want your college applicant essay to be remembered, then it needs to be these three things:

  • Alive.
  • Interesting.
  • Personal.

Very often, applicants simply miss understanding that admissions committees are made up of people who are interested in individual human stories, not the greatest structure of college application essay. They want to see individuals, not a list of accomplishments. After reading the letter, they spot an interesting, intelligent, and enthusiastic candidate, and they want to see him accepted to their university immediately.

Of course, given the limitations and format of the documents you are submitting, it is difficult to come up with and write fully something that is 100% original. Of course, you can always employ college essay edit help to ensure that your essay is absolutely original. But at the same time, everyone has some kind of special story or some very individual perspective of something – this is what is most valuable.

Let’s once again go with an example: you’re enrolling in an urban planning program. You traveled a lot and, at some point, saw that cities can be completely differently arranged – not in terms of architecture, but terms of the convenience of the city, spatial design. And this amazed you so much that you decided to develop in a new sphere for yourself. By competently explaining in your college entrance essay what this specialty means to you and why from his point of view, it is so important. This personal story and individual position will convince the admissions committee.

Mindset Focused on Success

The more committed you are to your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. Of course, you will likely change your plans after you enroll in the educational program. But the point is not specifically which goal and which road you choose, but the fact that you are unconditionally determined to be successful.

This is one of the most important aspects for the answer to “What do college admissions officers look for?” Link your past experiences and your education with your plans for the future. No “maybe,” and “if it doesn’t work out, then I will take it,” and “in general, I am ready for any development of events after graduation.” It certainly won’t convince the admissions committee.

Here’s a real-life occurrence, another student enrolled in the top business school in Europe. He basically wrote “why this college essay” but connected it with his desire to create and develop his own businesses in parallel with his studies. He indicated that some of his endeavors would be successful, some will fail.

But he showed that regardless of the development of a particular project, he will still succeed because each stage provides a huge amount of knowledge and experience. He very clearly connected all this with his desire to work exclusively in consulting after graduation, and the selection committee believed that he would achieve the goal anyway, thanks to his attitude. What are colleges looking for in an essay? Exactly these types of stories and explanations.

Rudiments of Greatness in the College Entrance Essay

The selection committee wants to see those who are destined for success. They want to see those who find a job immediately after the end of the program (the university’s rating largely depends on this) and will grow rapidly. So, you can see that sometimes the selfish objectives of higher education establishments can guide the answer to the question “What are colleges looking for in an essay?”

There are several ways to prove this. Through their education, work experience, and internships, and participation in projects. Have you finished school with recognition? It’s excellent proof that you will continue in the same vein. It’s definitely never smart to focus on how long is a college essay or its composition more than the contents.

If you can illustrate this through your achievements in sports, some activities, this is also great, and thus you can implicitly show that you will achieve success in any of your endeavors. All the above principles complement each other, and at the heart of a single idea – the selection committee wants to see interesting, enthusiastic individuals with clear goals and a plan to achieve them. Use these principles in preparing all the essays for college application.

What Do College Admissions Officers Look For? – Practical Points

The points we’ve discussed above are more conceptual. However, we can still add some practical advice to the question, “What do college admissions officers look for?” Here’s what you want to do with your

1.     Tell Your Story

The admissions office of any university reads numerous essays for college application every year. To make your essay memorable, explain why you want to study at this university and how your prior experiences make you an ideal candidate, but remember to make it a narrative about you and your development.

Give some illustrative and interesting examples that will show you as a person, demonstrate your motivation and merit/skills/experience. A successful essay for college shows you as a person and a professional and allows you to understand how you’re potentially suitable for the university and the program.

2.     Eliminate Any Mistakes

There is nothing easier than making a few punctuation and spelling mistakes, but this simple-to-make fault can significantly worsen your chances of being accepted. What colleges look for in essays, besides the mentioned aspects, is grammatical and lexical proficiency.

So, do your best to avoid having any mistakes in your writing. Check the college personal statement a day after wring, show it to your acquaintances, use Grammarly (a free online proofreading tool), and so on.

Go on and Write That Perfect Essay

Now that you know what colleges look for in essays, you should have a much easier time writing. Don’t waste any time; play around with ideas, and nail your essay.

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