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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, April 29, 2013
What We Can Learn from This Year's Admissions Essays
As April draws to a close, the writing is on the wall for the 2013-2014 college hopefuls. You're either out of breath from your victory dance, or dusting your knees off and finding a way to stand up, start anew. For this year's crop of students, the "whys" are still hanging heavy in the air.

So-and-so had lower SAT's than me, but got into X University, but I didn't. Was it my grades? Not enough volunteer work? My race, my background, my essay, my AP classes? What?

And here's a good life lesson. You'll probably never know the answer. You've got to move on.

Who can still learn a little from this year's students? Why-college juniors. Some of the early feedback from admissions officers is now surfacing, and it has to do with essays. The consensus? A little boring.

A good editor should be able to tell you this, early in the process. The problem is that if mom or dad, or another trusted adult is helping you, they may not have the nerve to crush you.

I agree, it is hard to strike the right balance. What may sound compelling to a younger writer often comes across as melodramatic to an older reader. Editors advise writers to stay away from inflammatory topics like politics, sex, and drugs, while in the same breath urging them to be creative risk-takers.

A phrase I've heard many times, that resonates with me is "write the way you talk". This is difficult for many high school students, who have been coached to cleave to a certain formality in essay composition.

The admission essay is meant to be a personal statement. The best way to make it read like one is to use your own voice. (I hate writing the "voice" bit as much as you probably hate reading it). It's the truth though. Everyone has something they are passionate about. Whether its mountain climbing or Monday Night Football, there's a story in there somewhere.

So talk about it.


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