What should you write about?

By Rajkamal Rao  

High school students already know that the most crucial subjective part of their college application is, without a doubt, the college essay.  

What should you write about?

Winning essays are generally those written from the heart, show compassion and highlight your character. David Holmes, who has done important work to signal the importance of character attributes in college admissions, defines character "as nonacademic factors -- e.g., service to society, evidence of a strong work ethic, attributes such as resilience, perseverance, and caring for others."

Another clue about what colleges like to see is buried in the selection criteria of scholarship applications. The Jack Kent Cooke scholarship application is available from within the Common App. The program is one of America's largest initiatives to advance the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Four factors are evaluated before awarding up to $40,000 in grants. It is a safe bet to highlight one or more of these factors in your college essays.

  1. Exceptional academic ability and achievement: Strong academic record, academic awards and honors, GPA, college entrance exam scores, advanced courses, commitment to learning, and intellectual curiosity.

  2. Persistence: Determination and perseverance in the face of challenges, ability to set and remain focused on goals and to put in the effort needed to meet those goals in the face of obstacles.

  3. Leadership: Ability to organize and positively influence others in and out of school (family, religious community, sports, arts, etc.).

  4. Service to Others: Purposeful and meaningful commitment to others which may be evidenced by participation in volunteer/community service activities.

The style of writing is crucial. Essays need to show off your personality, humanity, deep worldviews, and intellectual curiosities - all while being personable, specific, and reflective. Bring out your personality, your writing voice, and your reflections. Essays are NOT resumes, a paragraph version of a bulleted list of achievements. Essays are NOT cover letters where you seek a job.

The New York Times generally publishes four college essays each year.

Please contact us for more information.

A Note About Rao Advisors Premium Services
Our promise is to empower you with high-quality, ethical, and free advice via this website.  But parents and students often ask us if they can engage with us for individual counseling sessions.  We offer world-class SOP and essay reviewing services for a reasonable fee, starting at $99/hour.

Individual counseling is part of the Premium Offering of Rao Advisors.  Please contact us for more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.