Application Essays

Written by Adam Blau
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Perhaps the biggest key in gaining access to the best colleges and universities lies in the skill of writing application essays. To an admissions officer's eye, viewing entry after entry, the applicants must begin to look the same. The application essay, therefore, is the tool by which an applicant must separate him or herself from the rest of the pack.

Using Application Essays to Make Yourself Distinct

Think for a moment: what separates you from the rest? Do you have travel or work experience that others may not? Do you have an interesting family situation? Do you have any hobbies? And-if you can't think of anything--is there a reason why you can't? Does the fact that you can't pin down anything distinct about yourself make you unique among your peers?

When applying for undergraduate or graduate study, the application essays give you a chance to show a bit more about yourself than you might get to in other parts of the application. Here is where you get to show yourself as an actual person rather than a handful of names, addresses and test scores on a sheet of paper. The more you can demonstrate that you are a three-dimensional person, the more likely an admissions officer is to remember you.

Look at it from the admissions officer's point of view. Imagine there are two identical application essays side by side, each with the same test scores. Now imagine one of them has an essay attached to it that demonstrates a number of personality traits: dedication, humor, quick wit, even stubbornness. This essay will cause the applicant to stand out amidst the sea of others, increasing the chances that the applicant will achieve the final goal of acceptance into the institution.

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