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(“I would say there were a lot of instances of hammering kids with potential ideas,” one tutor said.“Like, ‘That’s a terrible idea for an essay, why don’t you try this instead?
So as our November 1 ED deadline approaches, I thought I'd write to you, future applicants everywhere, and give you four easy tips for a great college essay. Often your instinct is to write about something else - an experience, another person, a favorite activity - rather than your personality, passions, or quirks.
This makes sense; your writing experience up until this point has consisted of essays on books you've read or concepts you've learned. Fight the urge to focus on your athletic practice schedule, the grandparent you admire, or the community service experience from last summer.
In the admissions process, there’s a high premium on the personal statement, a 500-word essay submitted through the Common Application, about some foible or lesson, which aims to give readers a better sense of the student than, say, a standardized test score.
More than one university and advising blog rank the essay among the “most important” aspects of the process; one consultant writing in described it as “the purest part of the application.” But while test scores are completed by the student alone—barring bribed proctors, that is—any number of people can alter an essay before submission, opening it up to exploitation and less-than-pure tactics at the hands of helicopter parents or expensive college-prep counselors who cater to the 1 percent.
“When it’s done, it needs to be good enough for the student to go to that school, whether that means lying, making things up on behalf of the student, or basically just changing anything such that it would be acceptable.”“When it’s done, it needs to be good enough for the student to go to that school, whether that means lying, making things up on behalf of the student, or basically just changing anything such that it would be acceptable,” he told The Daily Beast. The tutor said he rewrote the essay to tell the story of the student moving to America, struggling to connect with an American stepfamily, but eventually finding a connection through rap. you know, he found that through his stepbrother he could connect through rap music and having a stepbrother teach him about rap music, and I talked about this loving-relation thing. He just said he liked rap music.” Over time, the tutor said, his company shifted its work model.
Instead of sending him random, anonymous essays, the managers began to assign him students to oversee during the entire college application cycle. “So if I get some student, ‘Abby Whatever,’ I would write all 18 of her essays so that it would look like it was all one voice.For the ultra-rich, big contributions might get their name on a science building and their offspring a spot at a top-tier school—an option California Gov.Gavin Newsom recently called “legal bribery.” Even the moderately wealthy can grease the admissions process with extensive SAT tutoring or, more problematically, college application essay editing.Telling me that your friends would describe you as silly and outgoing is, unfortunately, not enough.As the admissions officer reading your application, I need proof – in the form of a written tone that matches your spoken one.I had this past year 40 students in the fall, and I wrote all their essays for the Common App and everything else.”Not every consultant was as explicit about the editing world’s moral ambiguities.One administrator emphasized that his company’s policies were firmly anti-cheating.Not many have taken the time to geek out about Edward Hopper on paper. Write how you speak: If your friends, family members, and teachers would describe you as silly, outgoing, and uninhibited, why would you submit a collection of essays all written in a formal, subdued tone?(The same goes for you, introverts: if you’re quieter in person, write a quieter essay!As I read through your essays, I am crafting an image in my head of the person who will arrive on our campus in the fall if admitted. Show your essay to two people, and no more: Often the worst thing that can happen to a college essay is editing.Your job is to arm me with examples of who this person is. Of course editing is important (spell check people), but when you have many different people giving you feedback, you often lose your voice in all the changes. Sometimes you need to disregard the conventions of English essay writing to make sure your tone and style are prominent. Follow these four guidelines and I guarantee you’ll have the essays of a stellar college application.