Unfortunately, many people wait until the last minute to complete their college applications essays. After months or even years of working to achieve excellent test scores, strong grades, and relevant work/volunteering experiences, fatigue can get the best of people. However, a weak college application essay can severely hurt your chance of admission. College application essays that are not well-written signal to the admissions committee that you are not fully prepared for their program. They are also disrespectful. Admissions officers review hundreds and sometimes thousands of essays over the course of an application season, and a weak college application essay is simply a waste of time that could be spent on a sincere applicant.
For this reason, it is all the more important to ensure that your college application essay contains good content, has smooth transitions, conveys the right tone, and is polished for grammar, punctuation, and word choice. This is actually easier than you might think. Admissions officers want a ‘clean’ essay that conveys your message in a positive tone and is easy to follow. While a strong college application essay can be the deciding factor for an applicant whose grades and test scores are on the borderline or even below a program’s minimum requirements, a weak college application essay from an applicant can arouse the admissions officers’ suspicions: Why is this otherwise stellar applicant unable to submit a good essay?
Using College Application Essays to Weed-Out Less Desirable Applicants is Completely Fair
Every year, programs receive an ocean of applications. Particularly among top programs, only a minority of applicants will receive acceptance letters. Just as admissions officers use college application essays to find the best applicants, they also use them to eliminate applicants from the group of people to be further reviewed by the entire committee. The college application essay is not a frivolous part of the application process. Admissions officers take them seriously, and so should you.
Submitting a weak college application essay sends the message: this doesn’t mean much to me. With so many applicants who are sincere and excited about the chance to attend their program, there is no need to bother with one who does not display enthusiasm and have enough respect to polish their college application essay. Admissions officers would genuinely rather have an entire cohort of dedicated students with minimal test scores and resumes than ones with the highest test scores and extensive resumes who are apathetic about being at their school.