College Essays

College Essays: Are They Important And What Admissions Officers Want?

Grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities are usually thought of as the main criteria for getting into your dream school. Many students miss the mark when applying because they think that they simply need the academic criteria to get into college. Essays are your one opportunity to share your voice, your unique experiences, your perspective, and writing competency. In this article, we will address an area that is often overlooked by many students and the importance of these essays for admission decisions.

1) Demonstrate Your Writing Ability With College Essays

If you are an average candidate, with good but less-competitive grades and test scores, a strong essay could push you into the admitted category. This is not to say that your college essay will push you to that admissions pool if your scores and GPA are below the average admission level. What universities are looking to get is a sense of your writing ability and a little more human connection to you in these essays. They want to make sure that you are capable of writing on a college level and that you can write about complex topics with respect and in a thought-provoking way.

College essays are the perfect balance for the admissions officer to get inside of your head, while understanding writing proficiency. Neither of these points should be missed.

2) Convey That You Are More Than Just Numbers

This is a big one and many students lose their opportunity to shine with the university because they rely so heavily on their GPA, test scores, and class rank. These are extremely important metrics for colleges but they are not the only factor. Actually, according to college vine, a new data study has suggested that the top 250 colleges in the country put an emphasis of about 25% of your application on your essay.

Colleges are looking for student bodies to represent their campuses. They are not in the market of just admitting robots who look great on paper. You need to have a little more than just academic credibility so that the university feels like they are getting a dynamic candidate. This is why the essay should be so important for a student. We see time and time again, a strong student with great academic metrics just blows off the essay. We are here to tell you, this is a HUGE mistake and you need to take time and consideration when writing your college essays.

3) Creating the Vision Of Legacy

Our organization has spoken a lot about this topic and for good reason. We have to view colleges as they are: they are big business. Sure they have a not for profit title but don’t be fooled, they are very much in the business of making money. There is nothing wrong with this. We as players in their game just have to know what we are dealing with. They are just trying to survive the long game and are looking for candidates with a legacy factor. Colleges are looking for students who will give them name recognition for generations to come (ahem…. they want students for years to come to pay their highly set tuition rates). They get this legacy by pumping out graduates that are interesting, intelligent, and dynamic.

You might be asking, what does this have to do with a college essay? Well, that answer is pretty simple. Academic data (grades, rank, test scores, etc) are great on paper BUT when you are talking about a highly competitive University, that’s just the baseline. Everyone’s got those metrics when you are applying to top colleges. That just gets you through the first round. Once that mark has been met, now they are looking for sparkle and something that sets you apart from the other students. This is now your opportunity to shine. Go on, SELL yourself!

4) Express Uniqueness Through Your Journey in Your College Essay

Everyone loves a good story and college admission officers are no exception. They want to feel a uniqueness that only you posses. Gone are the days where colleges are looking for looking for the same candidate. Admissions officers are looking for a well rounded, unique, and diverse student body. This can only be obtained through personal stories and experiences. College essays are a way to bust through the numbers game and share your journey and captivate the admissions department.

How can you show your uniqueness through your personal journey? Show how it has not just made you into the person that you are but also added to a greater society. Add in some cultural references and a unique perspective on something happening in today’s world. College essays should be an opportunity to separate yourself from the other applicants. You want to be creative and think bigger than what your applicant pool is thinking.

Colleges like to hear about triumph through struggles, overcoming adversities, and accomplishing the unthinkable. Do you come from a single parent household? Do you come from a family of immigrant parents? Have you had struggles with a learning disability? All of these topics are ones you can dig deep with. Remember, we ALL have a story you just have to find yours. Use it to your advantage and be very thoughtful in your descriptions and with your words. Bring the reader to a strong emotion. Make them remember your essay because it could be the difference between a small admissions envelope and a large welcome envelope!

I hope these points were helpful and they can get you started on your college essay writing adventure. If there is anything we can do to help, please leave a comment below with your questions. You can also schedule a consult with one of our coaches who can help guide you through the process. We also have a full college planning course that goes over everything you need to know about college essays with sample templates and essays.

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