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Essays That Worked for College Applications: 50 Essays That Helped Students Get into the Nation's Top Collegesby Brian Kasbar
Synopses & Reviews
AN INTERVIEW WITH AN ADMISSIONS OFFICER
He still had a hundred essays to read before 6:00 p.m., and he was beginning to grow tired. My interview with him would offer a brief break from the Herculean task of narrowing ten thousand applicants to a freshman class of nine hundred.
I hope your book works, he joked, “so maybe next year I won't have to read five hundred essays about the yearlong drama of being student council president. I’m sorry, but successful car washes just don’t make for enthralling reading.
I smiled. He rubbed his eyes.
On a Wednesday in the middle of March this job gets tough. Sometimes it seems that there are only four types of essays: the ‘class president essay, the ‘I lost but learned' sports essay, the ‘I went to Europe and learned how complex the world is’ essay, and the good old ‘being yearbook editor sure is hard work' essay. When I read one of those, it takes amazing willpower to get to the third paragraph.
So sometimes you don’t read the whole essay? I asked.
No comment,” he replied, changing the subject. “I wish students would realize that when they write they should have something to say. They should try to present their values and priorities by writing on a subject that really means something to them, because, other than the essay, all I have is a bunch of test scores and activities: ten thousand sets of numbers and facts. I'd like to be able to see beyond that. I want to see what makes someone tick.
But couldn’t that be dangerous?” I asked. “What if someone writes something really bizarre, just to avoid being ‘boring'? Can strange ideas or comments hurt an applicant?
Well, if someone expressed homicidal tendencies, it would probably have a negative effect. Still, you'd be surprised how tolerant we are. A few years ago, we had a kid from Palestine apply. In his essay, he endorsed Yassir Arafat and the PLO. As far as he was concerned, Israel had usurped the rightful land of his people and should be treated as a criminal state. The admissions officer who covered the Middle East was an Orthodox Jew. Not only did the student get in, but he graduated with honors in political science.
In fact, being offbeat or daring is usually a plus, as long as the student stays in control of his writing. The essays which are most ef- fective seize a topic with confidence and imagination. Too many applicants treat their essay like a minefield. They walk around on tiptoe, avoiding anything controversial. Of course, the essay comes out two-dimensional, flat, and boring. It seems like many essays have been read, proofread, and reproofread until all the life has been sucked out. I wish kids would just relax and not try to guess what the admissions committee is looking for. As soon as they start playing that game, they're going to lose. The essay won’t be from the heart, and it won’t work.
The great essays-good writers discussing something of personal importance-stick out like diamonds in a coal bin. When we're sorting through the last few hundred applications, an essay that sticks out in an admissions officer's mind has got to help the applicant who wrote it.
How important is it to be a good writer?” I asked.
“Writing style tells yo
Offers helpful advice on how to write a successful college admissions essay, presenting some fifty excellent examples of effective essays, as well as practical tips from admissions officers for some of the nation's leading institutions of higher learning on how to get into the school of one's choice. Original.
Essays that Worked for College Applications offers advice on writing a successful college admissions essay and presents fifty examples.
Table of Contents
AN INRERVIEW WITH an ADMISSIONS OFFICER
USING - and ABUSING- the INERNET
Essays About Relationships
Essays About Travels
Essays About Home
Essays About Activities
Essays About the College Application Process
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