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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.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Getting Perspective on Your College Admissions Essay
Whether you turn to friends, teachers or professionals, getting outside opinions on your admission essay can help you to gain the perspective needed to create a powerful personal statement.

Are you having trouble with your college admissions essay? It's easy to get overwhelmed when trying to put together an essay that can wow an admissions board. College admissions are becoming increasingly competitive, with more students than ever competing for fewer spots at choice universities. When it comes to finding a spot at a first-choice school, a great admission essay is often the deciding factor between making it in and being placed on a wait list.

One of the major problems that people face during the college application essay writing process is that they lack the distance and perspective needed to craft an essay that hits the key points that admissions officers are interested in seeing addressed. The things that a person feels are most important in their lives might not be what will create an impact with someone reading an admissions essay.

This is why it is so important for prospective students to ask for outside advice while crafting an undergraduate admissions essay, graduate school personal statement or other portion of a college admission package. Having an outside set of eyes review an essay can give a person the proper perspective. Instead of looking at it from the (sometimes biased) eyes of the writer, someone else can look at it from the standpoint of a reader and tell the writer if their story is compelling or falls flat.

Friends and family are one resource that students can use when preparing an MBA admission essay, undergraduate admissions statement or other piece of the college application process. But while they might be able to help correct grammatical errors and tighten up the wording on an essay, they likely won't have the understanding to know what content will grab the attention of an admissions officer.

A solution to this is working with a service like Admissions Essays who can help you to craft a targeted and powerful admission essay or personal statement. Admissions Essays is staffed by Ivy League-educated experts who understand how the admissions process works and can give guidance and advice to make an essay stand out from the pack.


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Saturday, January 29, 2011
Admissions Essay Tips for Non-Writers

Even if you aren't a strong writer, you can still create an admissions essay that is powerful and helps you get into the college of your choice.

Even if you aren't planning on becoming the next Hemingway or Faulkner, possessing strong writing skills could make the difference between getting into the college of your choice and spending anxious months negotiating wait lists and potentially having to settle for a second-choice school. That's because college application essays are incredibly important to getting into the right school - even if you are going into a career in computers, science or another profession where writing skills are secondary.

If you are not a strong writer, there's no need to panic when starting to write your college admission essay. Most admissions officers aren't as impressed by flowery, dramatic prose as they are by the content that the essay imparts. At the same time, you want to make your writing as powerful and impactful as possible to grab the attention of the reader.

So how do you go about creating an engaging undergraduate or graduate school admission essay even if writing isn't your strength? Here are three things to keep in mind before starting your essay:

Focus on the introduction: If your introduction doesn't grab the attention of a reader immediately, they are likely to gloss over the rest of the content. No matter how compelling the rest of your essay is, the introduction will make or break it. Spend more time on this than anything else.

Answer the question: Many admission essays require you to answer a specific question. While you will likely have major points about yourself that you want to include in the essay, you also need to focus on presenting them within the context of answering the question. Don't ramble or stray too far from the topic at hand.

End strongly: The conclusion to your essay is your last chance to leave an impression with the reader. Summarize your strengths and use arguments you made earlier in your essay to reinforce the point of your writing.

If you need more help on your admissions essay, consider turning to professional experts. Companies like Admissions Essays work with students to help them craft a powerful, unique undergraduate admission essay, graduate school essay or law school personal statement that will get you to the top of the list with the college program of your choice.


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Saturday, January 22, 2011
UC Regents Urge Holistic Approach to Essays and Applications
Students interested in attending a University of California school will be interested to know about changes to admissions policies that are spreading across the university system. The Los Angeles Times reports that University of California regents are urging more schools to take a "holistic" approach favored at UC Berkeley and UCLA in undergraduate admissions that includes grades, their college admission essay and personal life experiences.

The holistic approach places an emphasis on college application essay writing that brings a student's entire history into context. Regents are urging schools to consider applications as one, entire package and be graded as such. In the past, most UC schools had graded essays, grades and interviews individually.

However, both UC Berkeley and UCLA have implemented a policy to consider undergraduate applications within the context of being a complete package rather than individual pieces. Proponents say this is the fairest way to select students from a large pool of applicants. However, this approach is not currently being used within the UC system for a law school personal statement or other post-graduate program application.


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Saturday, January 22, 2011
Strengthen Your Admissions Essay with an Early Campus Visit
Before students start writing college admission essays, it's important for them to understand the unique make-up of the school they are interested in attending. Admissions officers look at essays with an eye on how the student will fit in, contribute to and diversify the existing campus culture. Trying to write an essay without limited knowledge of the campus places students at an extreme disadvantage when trying to craft a powerful admissions essay.

Just like with a graduate school personal statement, you want to make each undergraduate admissions essay as unique as possible. Adding information about how you will fit in as part of the campus culture is a great way to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is to take an early visit to some of your top campuses before your senior year of high school.

Early visits to top-choice colleges will give you a leg up in your college admission essay writing. It doesn't have to be a formal visit -- you can stop by the campus for a day and see for yourself what students do. Doing additional research online will also give you a better sense of student life that you can incorporate into your essay.


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Saturday, January 22, 2011
Too Much Information Hurts Admissions Essays
Are you sitting down with your college admissions essay and trying to determine what should go into it? One common mistake that prospective students make is to include too much information. While it might be natural to want to cram as much information into college application essays as possible, the reality is that this can make your essay seem unprofessional and poorly edited. In addition, it could cause an admissions officer to gloss over the important, relevant information in your essay, ruining your chance to impress them.

This common mistake of too much information includes adding content that has already been covered in the transcripts or the application. You don't need to restate your grade point average or which student clubs you were involved in during high school. Admissions officers can get that information from the other parts of your application if they are interested.

Much like an MBA admission essay, an undergraduate admissions essay is one part of a larger application process. It is your chance to tell a story and explain how your life experiences will enrich the college of your choice. Avoiding pointless content lets you get to the parts of the story that will stand out with admissions advisors.


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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The Importance of a Unique College Admissions Essay

A solid admissions essay could mean the difference between getting into your first-choice school and a secondary school.

Getting accepted into college is becoming more competitive than ever as the number of applicants continues to rise. The chances of being accepted to a first choice college may be harder than one might think. Good grades and high test scores are a definite plus, but more and more schools are looking beyond grades. College admission essays are a way to stand out in a crowd of applicants, and improve chances of admission.

Though the college admissions essay may seem scary and even unnecessary, it is an essential part of the application process. The admission staff uses the essay to find out who the applicant really is. They are able to learn about the applicants writing skills, and find out a little bit about the personality of the applicant as well.

The topic of the college admission essay is usually left up to the applicant. It can basically be about anything important to them. It might describe why the applicant wants to attend that particular school, tell a story about a particular event in their life, or basically anything that will capture the admission staff's attention. Generally, the more creative the essay is, the more interesting it will be. Spelling and grammar will be checked throughout the essay. Proofreading and spell check are necessary tools before turning the final essay in to the admission staff.

A graduate school personal statement is written somewhat differently than an undergraduate college admissions essay. For the graduate school personal statement, future career goals, things previous education has taught them about themselves and their field of study, and why that particular school appeals to them could be some topics to write about. Applicants might also choose to discuss what or who inspired them to continue with their education. Showing that they are truly committed to achieving their goals is a big plus to the admission staff.

Writing a college application essay might not be an easy task, but it could be the determining factor in getting accepted into college. Admission staff is looking for a well-written, interesting paper that defines the applicant. Applicants should write about something that is important them. It should be an honest essay that makes them stand out among the other applicants. There is no room for mistakes. Before turning in the final product, read and re-read, spell check, and repeat the process. Then it will ready for the admissions staff to enjoy.


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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The Importance of Graduate Admission Essays
A great graduate admission essay can be the difference between being accepted into your dream college and being left out. Learn more about the importance of your admission essay.

With the recession generating nearly twice as many applications as normal, competition for the limited spots in graduate programs is fierce. The application process itself is often stressful, complex and time-consuming - all before courses even start. Preparation for the GRE, GMAT, LSAT or a similar entrance exam takes months, and then comes the transcript requests, letters of recommendation and financial aid applications. It is no wonder that many people feel that writing an essay is the least of their worries.

Unfortunately, this attitude usually means they are headed toward rejection. In fact, the quality of college application essays can often mean the difference between being accepted and starting the process over again at another school.

Depending on the graduate school's admissions process, the application essay may be either the final decision point for entrance into an academic program or the gatekeeper to personal interviews and eventual acceptance. Either way the essays are used to:

  • Review whether the applicant possesses graduate level writing skills and critical thinking abilities.
  • Discover the applicant's interest in the program and field of study.
  • Understand the characteristics that would make the applicant an interesting and valuable addition to the college.

The faculty reviewing the documents may choose to divide this information into a graduate school personal statement and other essays that address particular questions. In the case of a personal statement (also known as an autobiographical statement), the goal is to relay biographical information, convey reasons for selecting the school and the program, and - most importantly - sell oneself.

The importance of submitting an excellent set of essays cannot be overstressed. Unfortunately, college admission essay writing is a talent that applicants have only one chance to demonstrate. Essays must use correct spelling and proper grammar, convey the appropriate tone and be on-topic with the given subject. They should also be positive and avoid excuses or rambling. Anyone who has doubts about his/her writing abilities is encouraged to attend a college admission essay writing course or ask for an essay review by academic professionals. Reading sample essays from successful applicants can also be helpful. As with a resume or CV, the graduate school application essay should be informative, insightful and interesting. Capture the review committee's attention, and secure a place among distinguished peers.


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