(Admit See had 539 essays from Stanford and 393 from Harvard at the time of this interview, but more trickle in every day.) High-achieving high schoolers frequently apply to both schools—often with the very same essay—but there are stark differences between what their respective admissions departments seem to want.
One general insight is that students who take risks with the content and the structure of their college essays tend to be more successful across the board. One successful student wrote an essay tracking how his credit card was stolen, making each point of the credit card’s journey a separate section on the essay and analyzing what each transaction meant.
The first is that it is very valuable for applicants to tailor their essays for different schools, rather than perfecting one essay and using it to apply to every single school.
The second is that these essays can offer insight into the culture of the school.
An essay on the Civil War, given a perfect six, describes the nation being changed forever by the "firing of two shots at Fort Sumter in late 1862." (Actually, it was in early 1861, and, according to "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James M.
Mc Pherson, it was "33 hours of bombardment by 4,000 shot and shells.")Dr.
is a place where everything is backed by data, I went to my hotel room, counted the words in those essays and put them in an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop."In the next weeks, Dr.
The longest, about 400 words, got the top grade of six.
This is a key finding from Admit See, a startup that invites verified college students to share their application materials with potential applicants.
High school students can pay to access Admit See’s repository of successful college essays, while college students who share their materials receive a small payment every time someone accesses their data.