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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.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
College Admissions Essays Need Not Be Perfect
It's admission time, and the news stories swirling in the collective conscience largely revolve around the students who got into the greatest number of Ivies. Three students have received accolades for being accepted into all eight Ivies. All of them are African immigrants with incredible stories and extraordinary contributions to their credit.

Today, I stumbled upon the apparent admission essay of Gloria Tso, a high school senior who, this week, found out she had been admitted to four Ivy League schools. The essay published was hers for Princeton, and revolved around the question of the importance of public service.

I have no idea what Tso's grades and test scores were like. She makes a brief mention of her extracurriculars in her essay, and they sound impressive. Clearly, she's a highly credentialed candidate. Her essay is well composed and answers the essay prompt. It sounds like a finely tuned, thoughtful composition by a seventeen-year-old girl. It is not maudlin or dramatic. She does not boast or promise ridiculous perfection.

This got me thinking. I see how much agony surrounds the admission essay. I get the sense that students think admissions committees want them to submit essays that sound as though they were written by professional writers. They think the essay needs to blow their readers' mind. Tso's essay, in its quiet simplicity, proves that is not always the case.

I've read many essays by students that gained admission to top schools. Some are quirky. Others are funny. Some are creative and clever. Some are unconventional and eye-catching. Tso's doesn't fall into any of these categories, and yet, it is, clearly, enough.

So for next year's applicants-consider that. You need not be too cute, serious, intellectual or dynamic. Your accomplishments will speak for themselves. Let them.

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