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An essay that stands out is simply more memorable,” says Quartz growth editor Jean-Luc Bouchard.“I wrote a series of thematically linked poems for my admissions essay, and even though the poems were probably pretty bad, I think I got points just for trying something different.”You may recall the news this spring about Ziad Ahmed, a student who got into Stanford by writing “#Black Lives Matter” a hundred times on one of his essay prompts.Your audience, be it a teacher, an administrator, or an admissions committee, has likely read hundreds if not thousands of student’s admissions essays.
Here’s a brutal truth about applying to college: On paper, most teenagers are not very unique.
Some three million high school graduates send applications into universities every single year, and that’s just within the United States.
Universities in the US and across the world are increasingly looking away from test scores and grade point averages and toward one particularly unique component of students’ applications: the essay.
If done exceptionally well, it’s a catapult to an acceptance offer.
Seasoned admissions officers—particularly at elite schools—know how to spot cookie-cutter applicants and toss them into the reject pile in seconds.
Luckily, you do get a modest chance to distinguish yourself.
Yale’s dean of admissions Jeremiah Quinlan told Quartz last year that the university is explicitly “looking for passion” in the kids it admits; you can bet that the admissions offices at Stanford, MIT, and other top-tier schools are hunting around for the exact same.
Don’t worry about your topic sounding too boring or pretentious—the raw emotion underneath matters more.
It was an observational piece about having this window on a community.”But this doesn’t mean you should ramble on pointlessly for five paragraphs.
Make sure your topic reveals something about yourself, or why you want to study and pursue the things you do.