The college essay can close a deal—or it can end the discussion.
In a hypercompetitive college admissions climate filled with 4.0-plus GPAs and enough service work to qualify some for beatification, the essay may be the only place for an expression of individualism.
If my concern is valid, what should be the next step?
Considering transfer to BC or a private liberal art college after 1st year?
“That didn’t tell us anything.” Pitt has three short essays that are optional, but Kane says most students complete all three.
She is looking for “leadership and passion” to see how the student will fit in on campus beyond the classroom.He is already contemplating his daughter transferring next year to a different school.I think his story could generate some interesting discussions about rankings, price, graduate school and more.He searches for clues to help him define each person’s essence, hoping the writer is presenting their true self, not some stylized estimate of what they believe he and his cohorts want. But one essay in particular has lodged itself into Mahoney’s mind, serving as an example of what he wants to see from applicants. And since he can still conjure the opening sentence, the writer obviously made an impact.Mahoney has always been on a quest for something that stays with him. It begins simply: “Everybody saw it and laughed.” Saw what? “Think about what that type of sentence does to an admissions person who has to read 35-40 files a day,” says Mahoney. Like many admissions directors, Mahoney is looking for that one line, image or revelation that allows him to complete an applicant’s profile.Temple University gives applicants a choice between two questions—about five paragraphs for either.This year, one possibility is rather general: Provide insight into one area of personal development. “We asked students to picture themselves as Temple alumni 10 years later and to reflect on an experience during their time at the school,” says Karin Mormando, Temple’s director of admissions for the past decade.Rigorous academic profiles remain a priority, as do activities— although every student’s résumé is filled with so many extracurriculars that it seems impossible they’re all significant.Recommendations also matter, but interviews are rarely mandatory. Due to more schools joining the Common Application and the newer Coalition version, students face the challenge of crafting a general “personal statement.” Beyond that, each institution has its own requirements, designed to see how a student’s personality matches with a particular school’s qualities. “We used to get résumés on Excel spreadsheets with all the applicants’ qualifications and activities,” says Kellie Kane, executive director of admissions at the University of Pittsburgh.I received this email over the weekend from an anxious father that I wanted to share with you.The dad is having second thoughts about the school that he pressured his daughter to attend.