How To Ace The Dreaded College Admissions Essay

Aah, college admissions essays. For a good five months of my life these 500 word papers took over my already small amount of free time. Never has so few words been so difficult to put down on Microsoft word. You can’t be too generic, but at the same time going too far out of the box could guarantee a big fat rejection letter too. I applied to seven schools and was accepted into four of them. However, my list included far too many “reach schools” and too few safeties. That being said, none of my essays were particularly bad. In fact to this day I still take pride in some of my rejected ones. I have been through a lot of essays so hopefully if you’re struggling right now or are about to enter the pain of college admissions, this will be worthwhile to you.

Let’s start with the dreaded personal essay. This type of essay is especially daunting because, well, it’s all about you, and if you say one thing about yourself that the school finds unpleasing it could guarantee a rejection. I struggled the most with the personal essay, yet the school I am now going to required one and somehow still accepted me. After many drafts, pages of work deleted, nights of lost sleep, and probably a few tears the day came where my application was due and I had nothing. So, I procrastinated even more until I finally said “f*ck it” and wrote a personal essay to the tune of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”. I submitted the essay grudgingly and to my surprise, three months later found an acceptance letter to Penn State’s most prestigious campus in my mailbox. I have since transferred to UD, but my pride in this essay still stands.

So when you write your essays, BE ORIGINAL. I cannot stress that enough. Admissions officers see plenty of essays talking about how a hopeful student is really into community service, or is part of the national honor society or has overcome some great personal struggle. But if you dig deep enough, almost everyone can relate to those and crap out some mainstream essay that admissions officers will have already seen plenty of. So don’t do that. Be unique and believe every word of your essay. If you don’t think it’s good enough or "you" enough, then it probably isn’t. So submit a poem if that’s you or rap it to a tune that you can identify with. Be you and be unique and maybe you’ll get in to your number one school.

But don’t worry about the essay too much like I did. If your GPA has remained high and you have a decent class schedule your senior year you will get into college.