The essay is perhaps one of the most dreaded parts of the application process. As you contemplate your choice of topics, there are several things to bear in mind in what the admissions officers are looking for in your essay…
“What did you do last summer?”
The purpose of the interview is not to ‘trap‘ you. Interviews are simply another way for admissions officers to see the match between you and that particular school. Acing the interview is extremely important if you are eyeing for highly selective colleges…
Don’t Be Pretentious
First of all, take a look at some of these essay titles:
- “How I Plan To Solve World Hunger”
- “My Favorite Pet”
- “The Importance of Hard Work”
The problem with these topics? Too pretentious.
Tell about yourself!
They don’t tell much, if anything at all, about the applicant. The main purpose of the essay is to tell the
admissions officers about yourself – your passions, your priorities and your life.
Express yourself clearly
When you write the essay, you want to be sure that you are able to express yourself clearly. What is it about yourself that you want to talk about? Let the reader into your world. A good essay will tell a lot about an
applicant. When admissions officers read your essay, they are trying to get to know you as a person, not as a set of numbers.
Show, don’t tell
Show, don’t tell. Good writers always show their skills. For example, don’t just say, “I never give up.” Talk
instead about how you were not picked for the school debate in 9th grade, how you continue to improve your speaking skills and finally was chosen to represent your school in 10th grade.
Write in the first person perspective. Very acceptance essays are written in the third person. Use your own experiences. It’s more interesting when ADCOMs are able to read about your world the way you see it. The best essays are personal and come from the heart of the applicant. The better ADCOMs know you as a person, the more likely you will be admitted.
It doesn’t matter what you write about. It’s the way you write it. The dullest topic can be turned into a
winning essay if you do it right. Topics like “How ____ Changed My Life” are seldom good essays; only because as teenagers, you are not likely to have faced such a life–changing moment in your life. The ADCOMs know that, and you only come across as pretentious.
Some questions are fairly typical. “Write about the activity that has the most meaning to you” appears almost every year. Essays like this are meant for you to discuss your passions. They want to know what you love doing.
After you write your essay, ALWAYS remember to proofread it. Unlike the essay in the SAT where you only have 25 minutes to write a decent piece, the application essay provides you plenty of time to spell check and edit. There’s no reason for you not to proofread your essays before submitting them.