Don’t pick a prompt just because you think answering it will make you sound “impressive.” This quote by former Stanford University Dean of Admissions Robin Mamlet focuses on course selection, but it applies perfectly to essays as well: it that matters.
Whatever application process you’re going through, you’ll likely have a choice of several questions.
- The essay is really neat in that it's one of the only places in the application where they have complete control.
Where they can write about the things that they've been involved in and things that they've done.
The prompts are just supposed to be starting points.
That said, you can set yourself up for success from the start by choosing a topic that lets you show your strengths.In general, it’s much easier to stand out on the basis of how you approach your topic than what you say.For the most part, it’s unlikely that you’ve experienced anything extremely uncommon in the relatively short amount of time you’ve been a human.So I always advice students to stick to the simple things that you know.And the essays that stand out the most in my mind are about simple, simple things, very everyday topics.I think students get really caught up in thinking that this essay has to emcompass your entire life and it has to be groundbreaking and, you know, publishable quality.And that's a lot to ask of a high school student.This stuff matters…but it doesn’t make you special.This is especially important to note if you’re aiming to attend a very competitive school – everyone applying is going to have a high GPA, a laundry list of advanced classes, and will have been president of every student organization since the dawn of mankind. So treat a college application essay as a tool for standing out in ways the robots can’t.- I always tell a student, you know, if you had the chance to come meet with the admissions committee and present yourself in person, would you want to do it?And without fail students say, yeah I'd love to have that opportunity. They say because if they were able to get know the admissions committee, the admissions committee would want to admit because they would know them and they would get to know what their about and what makes them unique and special.