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Monday, September 21, 2015
Conveying a Love of Learning in Your Admission Essay
So much of the college application process these days involves a sense of gaming the system. It's virtually impossible to know what each university really wants in its students. Admissions isn't a science, but that doesn't stop students from trying to measure their odds with methodical precision.
College consultants find themselves fielding the same questions with regularity. Students want to know if they should take the harder class and risk the lower grade, or take the easier class and bolster their GPA. ACT vs SAT? Which AP exams to take? Should they do community service locally or abroad? Are internships important? How many sports should they take?
These questions are all valid, but they kind of miss the mark. I'll be honest, as an adult, I find it hard to pursue knowledge for the sake of it. Life's immediacies like taking care of family and paying rent always push themselves to the front of the line. But if there's any philosophical advice that I wish students would truly take on board, it is that. Learn for the sake of knowing more. Follow your interests.
If you volunteer at the Boys' and Girls' Club in order to check some sort of proverbial box, it will be obvious. If you flunk Physics because you are terrible at science, maybe taking your beloved Humanities course just makes more sense.
I don't mean that we must always eschew the things that feel intellectually laborious to us. I do mean that the pursuit of things that are both challenging and interesting is more gratifying. And when we are satisfied, we tend to be more successful.
In writing any college admissions essay, the guiding piece of advice is "show, don't tell". If you're writing about something you love, it will be obvious. It will be sincere.
And your reader will know it.
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