Week 5: The College Essay

The College Essay:

The college essay is now widely considered as the third most important factor in the college application process after GPA and test scores. The college essay is often the first thing that admissions officers read about an applicant that is not statistical. It also does not provide someone else’s’ opinion about the student.  This is the chance for your students’ voices to be heard–where they can share their passions, their dreams, their talents, their story, and most importantly, what makes them special.  Encourage your students to spend a good amount of time developing their essay.  A well written essay is often what an admissions officer will remember most about an applicant, and can create an advocate for that student in the office of admission. Some admissions officers have become so moved by these personal statements that during debates about particular candidates they will quote from the student’s essays.

Many students spend hours –days- thinking about what to write that they believe the admission office wants to hear.  The truth is that they are not looking for anything in particular.  The essay gives admissions officers a window into the personal lives of these young people.  Encourage your students to write about something they are passionate about; not what they think someone else wants to hear.  Passion makes an essay interesting, memorable, and can show the admission officer just who it is that they may be bringing to campus. Writing a good college essay is definitely not easy, as this will be one of the first times a student will be asked to bare their souls. It requires a tremendous amount of introspection and care. Parents have often come to us wondering why their “A” student in English is unable to write a strong college essay. A college essay is not really an essay but a story to be told. C2 has developed a wonderful college essay writing guide that helps navigate this complicated process.

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