A successful admissions essay will demonstrate to the reader that you belong in their program. Therefore, it is imperative that your admission essay makes direct connections between what you want to achieve and what the program has to offer. For this reason, taking the time to really understand the program to which you are applying becomes all the more important.
Most applicants are applying to more than one program. This means that it is an extra effort to get to know each one. However, this will pay off in the long run. Tailoring your admissions essay to the program will have far more potential to capture the reader’s interest than one that was designed to be applied generically. Not to put too fine a point on it, but generic admission essays tend to be very boring to read. Since the essay is trying to appeal broadly, it usually offers little insight into the applicant’s ability to contribute to and get the most from any particular program.
However, with the application process becoming increasingly streamlined with centralized application services, how can you ensure your admissions essay accomplishes what it needs to do?
Regardless of whether you are applying directly to a school or through a centralized service, you can intrigue the reader by showing that you have specific goals and a strong drive to achieve them. Think about what it is that you really want from your educational experience, and don’t be shy about making direct requests in your admission essay. This means that most schools will pass on you. However, you couldn’t attend every program anyway. Moreover, if the school does not have what you are seeking, you probably would not be satisfied with your education – regardless of the brand name of the school or the excellent quality of the program.
Casting the widest net possible in the hopes that some program – any program – will offer you admission is too much of a gamble for something that will consume such a high level of resources in terms of both your time and finances. If you’re not sure what you want from a program, take the time to discover this through reading, speaking with advisors, and even asking in internet forums. Then reflect your newfound focus and sense of direction in your admissions essay. Both you and the admissions committee will be thankful you did.