The college admissions essay is seemingly the most daunting piece of the application. While filling in the blanks, gathering letters of recommendation and taking standardized tests can be time-consuming, the process is pretty straight-forward. Essays, on the other hand, aren’t so cut and dry. They’re oftentimes open-ended with a prompt like: tell us about yourself or your achievements or an obstacle you’ve overcome. Others are a little more creative – or complicated, depending on your perspective. Schools like the University of Chicago are notorious for being imaginative with their essay prompts by allowing current students to come up with them. For example, one prompt this year reads: “What is square one, and can you actually go back to it?”This is your opportunity to showcase your personality. What makes you who you are – was it a struggle in the past? The instrument that changed your life? Your first athletic practice or game? A person that you admire? Your desire to attend the school to which you are applying?Admission committees will have just read through your application; the last thing they want to do is read another form of your information, achievements and extracurricular involvement. The essay is a supplement and it should act as such. Use it to add to your application by showcasing another side of yourself. In the event that there is something on your application that you do need to explain, your essay is the perfect place. If your transcript reflects a poor sophomore year – with improvement during your junior and senior years – talk about why you struggled that particular year.
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