Because college application essays are subjective in nature, it can be difficult to understand exactly how your college application essay is used in the selection process. With the escalating number of applicants that exceed the school’s minimal requirements, university programs know that simply ranking students according to these aspects of the application will not ensure a dynamic or diverse student body. Therefore, they use college application essays to help them understand not only what you have achieved in the past, but who you are as an individual. In this way, admissions officers are able to select not just the ‘best’ applicants, but the ones that are best suited to their program.
For most programs, your college application essay will be initially reviewed by one admissions officer. Admissions officers are truly interested in your college application essays. They want to find the best applicants and invite them to the program, and reading an excellent college application essay is exciting. If they like what they read, then they will select your application for the next part of the process, where the admissions officer will actually have to defend their decision to choose you in front of other members of the committee.
Therefore, if the admissions officer doesn’t feel that they can do this, it is very unlikely that you will be selected for the program. Admissions officers need more to go on than test scores and lists of accomplishments as almost all the applicant will have these things simply by virtue of being requirements for the program. Moreover, the committee as a whole will want to know what you will bring to the program that other applicants won’t be able to add. Your college application essay is the means by which the admissions officers can distinguish you from the other candidates in the program who are all equally qualified.
This also means that you have the opportunity to place yourself head and shoulders above the crowd with your college application essay. Demonstrate yourself to be an applicant who has made an informed decision about applying to their particular program and is prepared to take full advantage of the program’s offerings while also contributing their unique background and experience. Don’t underestimate eagerness and enthusiasm. There are many great programs out there, so admissions officers want to choose the applicants who most want to be part of their particular program.
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