With a record number of brilliant students applying to their universities of choice and a great majority of those applications being rejected, one wonders what to do to get into a top-notch university program. The application has moved beyond merely looking at SAT and high school grades. Admissions officers are now paying closer attention to essays and personal statements. There’s no clear-cut benchmark for writing a winning essay. Admissions officers say they go through as many as 30,000 applications for some Ivy schools each year. With such a glaring statistic, it easier to just blend in and play comfortable.
Most of us don’t have blockbuster stories to write about. We are afraid of what we haven’t accomplished already and are even more scared of what others think of it. The nerve can make you go bland on your essay. The last thing you want is to be standing in; you need to be sticking out. Show the school why you are a great fit for them and what they’d be missing if they didn’t have you.
Here’s a few great ways to make sure that your essay gets noticed by any admissions officer:
The biggest mistake you can make when crafting your essay is trying to tell someone else’s story. A lot of times, it’s not just the detail that counts, but the instinct and intent behind it. This is what you need the admissions officer to see. Great practice would be to give someone who knows you well your essay and let them critique it for you. When they read it, does it speak in your voice and does it tell the story of who you are?
PERSPECTIVE IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE
Perhaps you haven’t traveled anywhere beyond your borders and have never even cruised past a few meters altitude to begin with; that shouldn’t make your story any less intriguing. Do you relate to the human situation and the global problems that are shaping decision-making? Putting your local situation into perspective and putting meaning into your attendance to the school will convince the admissions officer about why they should have you.
This can be interesting:
DETAIL, DETAIL AND MORE DETAIL
While you have shown the logic and emotion, create beautiful symmetry with your details, as much as possible. Show how every step, every risk and every opportunity has led you up to this moment. Of course you might be limited by word count, but this should only help you to go through your essay and make it more succinct and summarized.
REMEMBER, YOU WANT THE SCHOOL TO WANT YOU
A lot of students write from a very one-sided perspective. You might fill in all the nice details about you, but you need to take care of the needs of the school too. Maybe the school wants someone with a penchant for research, and your stellar essay has everything about research. You don’t need to be psychic to know what they might be looking for. Do your homework on the school, go to their website, check out YouTube videos on the school and see for yourself if you’d be a good fit for the school.
ARE YOU LAID BACK OR INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS
Campuses and schools are the centers of both old and new knowledge. It is therefore important to have a student situation which allows this intellectual curiosity to throb with vibrancy. If you haven’t ventured into the world of asking yourself questions or starting your own journey to self-discovery, you might be applying to the wrong place.
IMPERFECTIONS ARE SECOND TO HUMAN NATURE
We all want to be the ‘Clark Kent’ of our own story. We are afraid that our mistakes might cost us the super-hero edge that promises selection. We try to paint ourselves as perfect, and we end up losing out. Don’t try to be perfect. Being the hero of your own story means falling and rising like a Phoenix again. Tell your story sincerely and genuinely, and you might just touch a heart.
This can be interesting:
CONSULT: TALK TO ALUMNI, ATTEND SEMINARS
If you’re absolutely green and have absolutely no idea of the institution you are applying to or know nothing about essay writing, seek opinion. It is fairly easy to jam a perfectly great application just because you were too cocky to seek help or talk to someone. Let them proofread your paper just in case you miss something.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO WRITE A GREAT ESSAY
If the deadline for submission is in a few months, it doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute. Start writing drafts now, without most of the constraints that time suppresses us with. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see your story coming together, with a final masterpiece at the end of all of it. Applying to college, whether as an undergrad or a master’s student is a complex process, beyond just essay writing. Give yourself time to win and appreciate the admissions process as thousands of others are going through it too.
IF YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY, VISIT THE CAMPUS
Visiting the campus is always a good way of introducing yourself to the school and its values, and helps you make the crucial choice about whether you want to go there. Besides, the admissions officers instantly mark you out and will always keep you in mind when considering applications.
PERSONAL GROWTH COUNTS
Maybe you haven’t gotten monumental achievements, still, can you clearly articulate your journey and the steps that you have taken to make yourself a better person. You need to tell the story with your own voice and let the school see your journey. The journey to self-awareness and self-discovery starts with you.
Create networks with other applicants, and you might just benefit from their unique perspectives. Share the experiences and seek to find out more about what the school stands for. There are freshman networking programs for different colleges, and you’d help yourself if you joined one of them.