The College Essay

The College Essay-90
No matter how rich they are—and barring parental chicanery—the kids have to submit their real grades and take their own tests.

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DON’T use the personal statement essay to repeat your resume. The personal statement is your opportunity to reveal something about yourself that can’t be found anywhere else in your application – use it!

Many students use this essay to expound upon activities or interests that are already heavily demonstrated in their application through courses, the activity list, and more.

Rich kids can raise their numbers with the aid of tutors and test prep courses, and they can enhance their resumes with expensive “public service” vacations, unpaid internships, and private lessons in sports like crew and water polo.

And if all else fails, there are always outright contributions.

Sure, some youngsters might come up with such stuff by themselves, but it will be impossible to separate them from the ones who brainstormed with a pro.

And even when independently written, what do the essays really show?Instead of reinforcing a top activity or interest, instead, write about something that reveals another dimension of your life or personality.If your top activity is swimming, don’t write about the big championship meet.The options in 2018-19 allowed applicants to describe their accomplishments, the obstacles they’d encountered in life, or the problems they would like to solve.These questions are little more than invitations for stock answers delivered in stock formats (and more so under the guidance of a coach).One application counselor explained the objective of an essay as convincing the admissions office “that you would make a great roommate.” Here is some advice to high school seniors, with apologies to Groucho Marx.You shouldn’t want to attend a college that would admit you for your value as a roommate.Anyone who is tempted to stand out—using humor, poetry, or graphics—is probably more likely to harm her chances than help them, no matter how much the colleges insist that they are looking for signs of individuality.At best, the essays create an illusion of individualized assessment, while some top colleges show off the creativity of their application drafters.The recent arrests in Operation Varsity Blues put the entire college admissions structure under well-deserved scrutiny.In addition to exposing the wealthy parents who allegedly bribed, cheated, and lied their children’s way into elite universities, the scandal brought increased attention to the many legal-but-sketchy ways affluent families have been able to move their offspring to the head of the queue.

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