Students shouldn't feel the pressure of having to write a Pulitzer-winning essay to gain admission to their college of choice.
With that said, they also need to know that an award-winning piece won't supersede poor academic performance.
Beware, you can write and rewrite your college essay to death with multiple editors providing feedback as you try to get it just right, but as musician Mike Morris says, “too good is no good.” Seasoned admission deans can quickly detect the unauthentic essay that has been scrubbed over, soon devoid of any personal voice.
Young novelists, journalists, and published poets are all on similar footing with the typical English student when approaching the admission essay—it is not just about how you write but also how vulnerable you are willing to be.
Erik De Angelis, associate director of admission at Brown University advises, "don't fall into the trap of telling us why you're a great fit for our school by telling us all about our school. Tell us how you'd take advantage of the resources and experiences available at our school.
Don't spend precious word space impressing us with your knowledge of the school, rather present your argument for how you envision yourself participating in academic and social life at the school." The moral to the college essay is that there need not be a moral.
The college essay is not a test to see if you can read minds or anticipate what the admission office wants to hear.
Plain and simple, they want to know about you, how well you write and how self-aware you are. Regardless of the topic about which you choose to write, be sure the essay reveals more about you than the other characters or places in the story.
Reading the college essay topics for what seems to be the hundredth time, he searches in vain for an event, challenge, accomplishment, obstacle, interest or talent about which to write.
For a fleeting moment, he laments the absence of a personal tragedy to exploit while he sits with the cursor flashing—a pulsating symbol of perplexity. Especially tormented are the perfectionists, you dutiful students who view the college essay as just one more roadblock to be overcome with sheer will.