Parents: sit down before you read this. Kids: deep breaths. It might not make a difference for your college admission chances. Stanford sociologist Mitchell Stevens spent 18 months embedded with admissions officers at an unnamed top-tier liberal arts college and found that, even in cases where students were within the admissible range in terms of scores and grades, officers rarely looked to the personal essays as a deciding factor.
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Last month, the edition of the Common Application was released. As college admissions becomes more competitive, and more students are applying to more schools, colleges are increasingly using a student's "soft factors," including letters of recommendation, interviews, resume, and essays to transform an applicant from a series of numbers into a living, breathing human being. Colleges don't ask you to write essays because they want to make you miserable, they are asking because they want to hear from you! They want to get to know your background, interests, goals, triumphs, failures, likes, and aversions in your own voice.
Get up-to-date information on all the changes for students and educators affected by coronavirus COVID The essay is an opportunity for students to personalize their college application beyond grades and scores. It can also be one of the more nerve-wracking parts of the application process. You can demystify the essay for your students.