Ms. Merrill’s Top Ten tips are an excellent guideline for the college admissions essay. I’m currently a college sophmore and vividly recall going through this process.
One additional tip I would add is keep it lite. I think college admissions panels are tired of reading about how you spent your summer wielding a hammer for Habitat for Humanity or ladling soup in a homeless shelter.
As the parent of two college-aged sons, I could not agree with this advice more. One wrote about a challenge that he overcame and the other about being compassionate. Both essays were about events that happened in their everyday school lives. Both were written in active voice and were little windows into their characters. Neither used the words challenge or compassionate. I am convinced that it was the strength and sincerity of their essays that opened the doors at the top schools that said “Yes” to my sons. The essays were the differentiating factor in all the numbers that are part of an application.
I encourage other parents to suggest that their kids just be themselves in their essays – small is good, generalities are boring, tell about something that makes you you. Oh, and read The Gatekeepers – – it offers the best insights into the college admissions process of any of the dozens of books I read on the topic.
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In the sixteen years since its inception, AdmissionsEssays has been helping students craft and edit memorable personal statements & letters of recommendations.
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Most universities acknowledge that the admission essay-while only one component in the application package-is the best opportunity for acquainting the admissions officer with the student.
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The first step is to request an admission package from the list of colleges and universities to which you have decided to apply. With this information in hand you will be able to make a checklist of all required documents, letters and essays you will need to complete your application fully and on time. Take note of any and all deadlines associated which each of your applications. The only thing worse than an improperly made application is no application at all.
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“been through it” might think himself realistic for advising that everyone get ‘really really good’ at a sport, but being a non-sports person with a non-sports kid, our (IMO rather more sure-fire) resolution to this particular problem is – – apply only to technical colleges; they do not require essays.
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Periodically, in a feature called “Tip Sheet,” The Choice will post short items by admissions officers, guidance counselors and others to help applicants and their families better understand aspects of the admissions process. As an inaugural post in this series, Martha C. Merrill, the dean of admission and financial aid of , and a graduate of the class of 1984, encourages incoming high school seniors to begin contemplating their college essays this summer. She also offers perspective on what she looks for in an applicant’s essay.
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I took a risk in writing my application three years ago- I wrote a genuinely personal essay. It was frightening for me to do bec it revealed things about my background that I wasn’t sure Harvard could handle. But it was a risk that paid off.
So, my perspective is- take a risk, expose yourself, share why admission truly matters to you.