Contrary to popular belief, all admissions officers are not old men with bowties and English accents. In fact, the first people to read your application are often people not much older than yourself. At most colleges and universities, recent graduates of the college serve as assistants, conducting the first read on all of the essays. If they like your essay, they will pass it on to the associate directors or only read what the assistants pass along. Then, the associate directors choose which essays to pass along to the director, who makes the final decision. So essentially, the mysterious group that holds your future in its hands is composed of a few recent grads of the college, a couple of associate directors, and a director who must evaluate thousands of applications in a month or two. The moral of the story: Don’t write your essay for an old British guy. Be yourself. Write in a relaxed tone.
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Admission officers realize that writing doesn’t come easily to everyone, but with some time and planning, anyone can write a college application essay that stands out. One way to do that is to work step-by-step, piece-by-piece. The end result should be a carefully designed, insightful essay that makes you proud. Take advantage of being able to share something with an audience who knows nothing about you and is excited to learn what you have to offer. Brag. Write the story no one else can tell.
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On Thursday, Aug. 25, first-year students moved into their residence halls at Connecticut College. I’ll bet if you had asked them where they were last year at the same time, they’d say: where you are now. And if you asked how it was to write the essay, they’d say it was one of the most challenging parts of the application.