Do you want to know what is the perfect college admission essay? It’s not exactly a secret. Ask any admissions officer and they will tell you. The perfect admission essay is simply the one that ONLY YOU are capable of writing!
But what does this really mean? After all, couldn’t you just scrounge up some money and hire a skilled writer who could write the perfect essay for you? Perhaps, you could. But aside from being deceitful, dishonest and risky, even the best skilled writer could only write a technically correct essay. The point is that they could never write an essay that’s about YOU as well as YOU could. Only you can do that.
They could never express your true emotions and inject the excitement and passion, or empathy, or warmth, or any other sentiment driving your particular essay. Only you can bring your story to life in an honest, believable way.
When reviewing your essay, the admissions committee is not looking for the next Tolstoy or Jane Austin, but rather simply seeking to learn more about this candidate who is knocking on their college door asking to be admitted. Before they allow your admittance, they need to be assured that you will be a good fit for their school. They want to gain insight into the person behind the grades, test scores and GPA.
And you can show the committee who you are without even having to pick a deep subject or cover a world shaking event. Often, a simple story on a run-of-the-mill topic will do. But regardless of the specific topic, what’s important is that you use it in a way that shows your values and beliefs, and some meaningful moment in your life.
Through telling a story, you may be able to convey what the most important things are to you; share your key interests and goals, and the circumstances that have helped you grow as a person and helped shape your values, your perspective of the world, your dreams and wishes for your future, your honest commitment for hard work, and a true desire to learn and to live with others of different backgrounds and convictions.
Of course, the thoughtfulness and the quality of your writing is important as well. An essay should have structure and style, or it will risk being a horribly written essay and hurt your chances. Remember, you are trying to impress your reader, not give them nightmares. You obviously need to follow some proper writing techniques. And you also need to watch your tone, since for the reader this will be a good indicator of important aspects of your personality.
In fact, the way you tell your story will be just as important the story itself. If you’re sharing a funny moment, it’s fine to use some light humor, but it’s not fine to overdo it. Otherwise, you could come across callous and clownish. In the same matter, it’s good to be reflective, intellectual and thoughtful. But if you turn your essay into a lecture in morality or attempt to portray yourself like a philosophical guru with all the answers to the world’s problems, you’ll probably leave your reader wondering why you’re even bothering to apply for college. You should be running for president instead. And I don’t mean this in a complimentary way.
So what does the perfect college admission essay look like? Well, it should have balance above all. It should be about something that has happened or that pertains to you. Something that could be happy, sad, entertaining or inspiring, and that does not look like a formal, impersonal piece of writing, You should be able to tell your story and convey your feelings in a personal, sincere, and even revealing way, but without intimate details that could embarrass the reader, and without complaints, bitterness or hubris. Write your essay in a friendly matter, but don’t write it as if you were writing to a friend. Remember, the admissions officer is neither your buddy or psychologist, but rather a neutral observer who is hoping to discover through your writing a balanced, well grounded individual.
The admission essay is extremely important, and while it alone would rarely be the deciding factor for admission to the school, it can certainly make the difference.