Since the majority of college applicants are ‘self-selecting,’ meaning that they are applying to colleges for which they fit the basic academic requirements in terms of grades and test scores – or what we at AdmissionsConsultants refer to as the academic qualifications hurdle – your academic record will only get you so far at selective institutions. As a result, a tremendous amount of importance will be placed on the other elements of your application, especially your essays.
Think of these essays as 2-3 minute windows to stand in front of an admissions committee and talk to them, without interruption. You don’t want to, nor do you have time to, tell them everything there is to know about you. Instead, you want to tell the committee everything it NEEDS to know to set you apart from all others – and to know that you are a good choice for their school.
I don’t want this to intimidate or upset you. Instead, I encourage you to embrace this opportunity to distinguish yourself from the many other highly talented applicants and consider it an early lesson in self analysis and promotion. By reflecting on who you are and how you came to be that person, you will have a stronger sense of what you have to offer, where you are headed, and how your college experience will help you get there. Not only will that help you write a compelling essay: it can’t help but make you a stronger applicant and a more successful person.