Myths About College Admission Essays
Getting admission into a good college has become harder due the increase in the number of talented students who are applying to the top universities. Such a large and talented pool of students has made it harder for the admission officers to make a decision about which applicants they should admit to their university.
Therefore, if you want to get an edge over other applicants, you have to write write a good application essay.
Sadly, most students fail at this crucial stage of because they do not understand what the admission officers are looking. Part of the reason for this confusion is because of the various misconceptions and myths surrounding college application. In this article, we will demystify some of the common myths about college application:
Myth: Admissions Essays Don’t Matter.
Universities receive thousands of admissions every year. This means that they may not be able to go through every one of them. For instance, only 1 in 7 essays is a factor in an admission decision at the University of Pennsylvania.
However, this does not mean that essays are irrelevant. To the contrary, essays can be decisive when admissions counselors are unsure about a certain student. In this case, they ussually rely on the student’s application letter to know if the student is a good fit for the university. For instance, a student with borderline grades and test scores could secure a spot in the freshman class with an insightful, well-crafted essay. Similarly, they could be rejected because of a lousy one.
Myth: This College Accepts Everybody.
No college accepts every candidate who applies. Open access or entitlement-type institutions may automatically accept students who meet minimum academic qualifications, but not applicants who don’t meet those standards.
Myth: It’s impossible to figure out what a college is really looking for.
On the contrary, most colleges go to great lengths to specify what kinds of students they’re looking for. College view books and websites provide extensive information about academic requirements, as well as profiles of previously admitted classes including their grades and test scores. You can learn even more by talking with admissions staff, students, faculty, or alumni.
Myth: Interviews are required to be accepted.
Some colleges do request that you come in for an interview, but most don’t—either because they couldn’t manage to conduct an interview with each applicant or because they don’t want to put applicants who can’t travel to the college at a disadvantage. If you are able to travel to the campus for an interview, you should absolutely do so. In addition to learning more about the college from your interviewer, you can also learn firsthand what the school is really like, especially if you get to meet students and sit in on classes.
Myth: Average grades in hard classes are better than A’s in easy ones.
Universities like Kaplan and Princeton consider a B in an AP class to be better than an A in a regular class. Moreover, the schools often weight difficult classes more heavily when tabulating GPAs.
However you should not rely too much on this! While universities like students who take hard courses, they do like to see grades that are lower than a B even in hard subjects. This means that struggling in more than one tough class will reduce your chances of getting accepted into a top school. So unless you can keep your grades in higher-level courses at or over the B range, it probably makes more sense to take regular classes.
Myth: An application essay has to be written about an impressive topic.
Selecting an impressive topic will not earn you extra points. Admission officers are interested in learning about you. Colleges want to know what you learned, not what you did.
Therefore, whether you chose to write about your trip to Africa to save starving children or a leisure trip to Costa Rica, you must tell the admission officer how that trip helped you to learn something about you. For instance, you could tell them that the trip allowed you to become a better leader, to solve problems, or to work as a team.