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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Writing an Honest Admission Essay
I've written a lot about what goes into a good admissions essay. So have thousands of other people. The "perfect topic" is like the Holy Grail of college personal statements. It isn't easy to find. People can't agree on what it is. It may signify something different to different people. So,we talk about it. A lot.

There also seem to be some universal truths about the subjects you should avoid. Your substance abuse. Maudlin personal tragedies. Politics. In my experience, most students don't go there. The most common pitfall I see is the essay that simply isn't interesting.

Recently, the UK-based Guardian poked a little fun at the college essay process by tasking several writers with the job of drafting an honest admission essay. These writers are many years past college, with little to lose. Still, their unadulterated honesty was comical and helped illustrate a point.

Students are often so eager to please that they want admissions committees to know EVERYTHING about them. Not enough space for that in 500 words. Others cling to a single topic-their first ballet recital, maybe-only to discover there isn't enough meat in the story to feed 500 hungry words.

Whatever you do, make it interesting. There is no perfect essay. Admissions officers do want to know about you, but they don't need to know everything. Balance the good against the bad.

Let's be honest. People don't really like honesty all that much, unless it's a good story. Honesty is usually uncomfortable and awkward. If you feel like dancing out that limb in your admission essay, I say do it. Better to make your reader cringe than yawn.


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