At many colleges and universities, admissions officers face the difficult task of sifting through thousands of files to determine which applicants will be a good fit for their school. While strong grades and test scores are necessary for gaining entrance to selective schools, they are not sufficient. In many cases, it is your application essays that can make or break your chances of getting in to your top choice schools. These essays are your big chance to show the admissions committee a side of yourself that would not be evident in the rest of your application, and a great opportunity to demonstrate why you would be the right fit for their school.
If you’re applying to any of the several hundred schools that use the Common App, you’re going to have a choice of five prompts for the main essay. (You will also need to respond to some supplemental essay questions that are customized for each school to which you are applying). Make sure to pick the prompt that will enable you to relate a good story—one that captures an aspect of your life that shows why you would be a valuable addition to next year’s freshman class.
Admissions personnel generally read hundreds of personal statements each year, so it’s vitally important to make sure that your essay avoids clichés and maintains the reader’s interest. Your essay needs to be thoughtful and reflective, but it should also convey your passions and provide a sense of what makes you unique. Since you only have a few hundred words to accomplish this goal, many of the most successful essays relate a brief story or anecdote that sheds light on both your personality and your goals.
Perhaps you think that your life has not been that remarkable so far, but everyone has a story to tell. If you’re struggling with your personal statement, we can help! Our experienced admissions counselors can assist you in figuring out what kinds of stories will be relevant for your essay prompts, or even which prompts to choose. We’d be happy to meet with you to explore your background and your goals, and to share our experience and knowledge about what makes a great application essay. Call Sandweiss Test Prep today!