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According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, application essays are the most important “soft” factors, or non-quantitative elements, that colleges consider when making admission decisions, right behind “hard” factors, or quantitative components, like grades, curriculum, and test scores.The personal statement and other essays and short answer questions, in conjunction with recommendations, extracurricular activities, and other qualitative application elements, can provide admissions committees with context and details about students that can’t be found anywhere else in the application.
Take the time to read over all your essays carefully and keep an eye out for things like “out” when you meant to say “our” and other common typos.
Have a parent or counselor read over the essay, too, to catch any errors you might have missed.
Show how you fit into the campus culture and how you will impact the community through specific examples.
DON’T say what you think the admissions office wants to hear.
DON’T use the personal statement essay to repeat your resume. The personal statement is your opportunity to reveal something about yourself that can’t be found anywhere else in your application – use it!
Many students use this essay to expound upon activities or interests that are already heavily demonstrated in their application through courses, the activity list, and more.
Not only does this show colleges that you’ve have done your homework, but it also demonstrates your interest in the college – and colleges want to admit students who are likely to enroll.
Show your knowledge of the college by mentioning specific courses, professors, places of interest, and more.
While it’s important to put considerable effort into all college application components, essays are often the finishing touch and should be treated with great care and consideration.
Here are some college application essay dos and don’ts for students to keep in mind as they complete their applications this fall.