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"We purposely have a diverse staff with a variety of interests and backgrounds." That said, had Morgan been applying to, say, a school in the Deep South, she might have chosen her words more carefully.( Click here to read Morgan's essay.)Rule #7: Don't Be Afraid to Show You're Not Perfect Abigail Hook was applying to Harvard—the one school you don't want to tilt your hand near.The applicant wasn’t the star of the team, Roberts remembers, and didn’t even like playing baseball much.
The essays were slipped to us by college professors, high-school guidance counselors, independent admissions consultants, and even staffers at student newspapers.
For confidentiality reasons, admissions officers can't talk about these essays expressly, so we chose essays that demonstrate the most salient principles to abide by when writing them.
With early application deadlines upon us, guidance counselors, professors, and admissions consultants slipped Kathleen Kingsbury seven essays that helped get kids into top schools last year—and she examines exactly what they did right. These are a few topics on independent consultant Arun Ponnusamy’s list of what not to write about in your college application essay.
What you learned about poverty on your $9,000 trip to Africa.
“Families are going through hell right now, and it’s the very personal experiences that will resonate the most.” Then again, Poch adds, “Sympathy isn’t the only reason we let kids in.”Despite what admissions guidebooks tell you, there's no surefire formula to the college essay.
Poch confesses even a small error or two will not necessarily kill your chances of getting in—as long as it's not on purpose.
"To be honest," says Ponnusamy, "if you're thinking about the most selective of schools in the country and the most interesting thing in your life is your parents' divorce, you're not going to get in anyway.”But even if your life hasn't been filled with experiences worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, you can salvage an essay about a ho-hum subject by having a novelist's eye for detail.
For Greg Roberts, the admissions dean at University of Virginia, one of the most memorable essays he read was about a single at-bat in a high-school baseball game.
(Scroll down to read the essays, unedited and in full.)You'll need the help: Competition at these schools is fiercer than ever.
For every kid who’s hung prayer flags on a mountain summit in Tibet, there are a dozen others who’ve studied a Bantu language in Rwanda, worked with Guatemalan orphans, cooked with a celebrity chef, or been on reality TV.