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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, May 27, 2013
Write like You've Got Nothing to Lose
As I swirled this blog idea around in my mug, I wondered whether this was actually sage advice. When settling into drafting that admission essay, should students really throw caution to the wind? Is there no topic, no tone, no attitude that should be off limits in this genre?

Of course not.

What I'm thinking is this. From a percentage perspective, acceptance rates are getting lower. More students are applying to college. The highly competitive schools are becoming more competitive. What got a student into Yale 20 years ago, won't even get them an interview today.

So, for those of you who are floating up there with the cream at the top of the milk, the essay should be an opportunity-not a burden. If your scores are through the roof and you're aiming high, you're in good company. Perfect ACTs? Solid 4.0. Super. You're gong to college. It's just that someone else with perfect ACTs and a 4.0, might be taking your top spot.

Your job? Don't get complacent. Good scores won't hoist you out of a hole dug by a bad essay. Don't assume that being smart is enough. Also, don't play it safe. Your essay shouldn't say the same things about you as your scores. Let each component speak for itself.

My conclusion-write like you've got nothing to lose. If you truly are a stand-out student, you're going to get in somewhere. You will wonder why your academic doppelganger got into Cornell and you didn't, but there's virtually nothing you can do about it.

You will get lots of advice about writing admissions essays. "Speak from the heart". "Think outside the box". "Show, don't tell". Well, I say, add another to your repertoire: "Write with abandon". What have you got to lose?


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