College Admissions | Personal Statement | College Essay

Inevitably, as admission officers slog through literally thousands of essays, they will continue to develop a personal catalog of the kind of essays that annoy, bore or simply leave the reader cold. In my own experience as a former Ivy League admission officer, the worst college essays tend to fall into definable categories within which they can be tagged by type. They leave the reader with questions about the creativity, good judgment and depth of the writer.

By writing a stellar personal essay as part of your college admissions application.
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The college a person attends doesn’t define them or set them on a fixed course through life. Nevertheless, it is important and it does matter. In fact it matters tremendously to those students and parents who struggle through courses and bills to make their dreams of education a success, and that’s why it is so terrifying that chance and subjectivity play such a large role in the college admissions process.


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Stanford sociologist Mitchell Stevens spent 18 months embedded with admissions officers at an unnamed top-tier liberal arts college and found that, even in cases where students were within the admissible range in terms of scores and grades, officers rarely looked to the personal essays as a deciding factor. He wrote about his experience for , and here's the most interesting part: