4 Admissions Essays That Worked—And Why

4 Admissions Essays That Worked—And Why

TOPIC 1: Redefining The Idea of Masculinity While Growing Up With Two Moms
SUCCESS RATE:
Accepted to all 10 schools he applied to, including Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Yale University, Princeton University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
WHY IT WORKED: Colleges want to see exceptional students who overcome adversity because it shows strength and students are not afraid to challenge societal norms, because that takes risk. This essay manages to convey both at once.

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The One Thing Most Students Forget Before Submitting Their Admissions Essay

The One Thing Most Students Forget Before Submitting Their Admissions Essay

You spent months perfecting your essay, going through multiple revisions and edits. You've cut the cliches and got it down to word count. You've finessed the opening and closing lines to eye-catching perfection. Everyone from your counselor to your mom's cousin twice removed has proofread it and given it their seal of approval. Maybe you've even hired a guru or two to give it the professional once (or twice) over.

Now all you have to do is click submit, right? And then you'll breathe the sweet victory of completion.

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What High School Doesn't Teach You About The Admissions Essay

What High School Doesn't Teach You About The Admissions Essay

Most high schools focus on teaching you the academic essay: you know, thesis statement, supporting paragraphs, and a closing paragraph summarizing the above. There is a pretty exact formula you have to stick with and not much room for creativity. Your tone is overly formal and you are expected to cite and analyze texts for a unique argument and conclusion. The good news: You spend 4 years learning this academic skill, which is helpful and will be what you are expected to write in college. 

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The Most Important Quality To Show In Your Admissions Essay

The Most Important Quality To Show In Your Admissions Essay

 "Letters of recommendation are typically superfluous, written by people who the applicant thinks will impress a school. We regularly receive letters from former presidents, celebrities, trustee relatives and Olympic athletes. But they generally fail to provide us with another angle on who the student is, or could be as a member of our community."

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Admission Essay Lessons from Tonight's Election Debate

Admission Essay Lessons from Tonight's Election Debate

Whatever your politics, you can agree that presidential debates can bring out the best in people—or the worst. Some people onstage look calm, educated, and even presidential. Others look mean-spirited, angry, and even unstable. So what does that have to do with the admissions essay? Republican or Democrat, you have to come across as LIKABLE in your personal statement. Based on countless interviews with admissions officers, that is the #1 quality they look for when making the decision to accept you or not. So how do you that exactly? 

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5 (Very Tempting) Personal Essay Habits to Stop Right Now

5 (Very Tempting) Personal Essay Habits to Stop Right Now

Let's establish something from the start: admissions essays are freaking hard. Most schools don't emphasize personal essays in their academic curriculum, so it's not surprising that many students struggle with the form. Unless you're a creative writing prodigy, you may not know how to be confessional without revealing TMI, how to impress strangers without being annoying, and how to write well without sounding like a blowhard. Here are five newbie mistakes any senior should avoid in their personal statement, from Ivy League valedictorians to veteran admissions reps.

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The Admissions Essay Mistake You Can't Make

The Admissions Essay Mistake You Can't Make

The New York Times recently revealed a major red flag in the admissions essay: the cliched community service trip. In Frank Bruni's column, "To Get to Harvard, Go to Haiti?" he explains how disingenuous that idea comes across:

It turns developing-world hardship into a prose-ready opportunity for growth, empathy into an extracurricular activity.
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