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This is especially important to note if you’re aiming to attend a very competitive school – everyone applying is going to have a high GPA, a laundry list of advanced classes, and will have been president of every student organization since the dawn of mankind. So treat a college application essay as a tool for standing out in ways the robots can’t.It’s a lot like the cover letter you write when applying for a job – it’s your chance to reveal the person behind the accomplishments and statistics.My suggestion is to just read through them and narrow down to one or two that really speak to you.
The point of this exercise is twofold: These are all jumping off points for the essay.
They’ll get you started, but simply writing about these things alone isn’t enough.
Here are a few things to avoid writing about: Really, the success of your essay will come down not to what you write about, but how.
In general, it’s much easier to stand out on the basis of how you approach your topic than what you say.
If you’ve never done it before, free writing is just taking a topic and writing anything that comes into your head.
Just take a blank document or sheet of paper, set a timer for 10-15 minutes, and start writing.
You have to remember that the person reading your essay knows nothing about you, save for a few basic statistics.
Furthermore, they likely know nothing about the subject of your essay.
When you’re juggling transcripts, forms, dates, and everything else, it’s easy to brush off the college application essay as “just another part of the application.”However, while it’s true that the essay isn’t the only thing that matters to college admissions officers, a great essay can actually compensate for less than stellar grades. Most of the other parts of the application are just lists and statistics: GPA, courses taken, a list of extracurriculars, maybe some work or volunteer experience.
This stuff matters…but it doesn’t make you special.