April 27, 2015

10 Questions Every College Essay Should Answer

When giving feedback on my students' college essays, I place myself in the position of the admissions committee. I look to see whether the college essays answer the following 10 questions.

These are the 10 questions college admission officers want you to answer in your college essays:

1. Do you love knowledge, and can/will you pursue this love of knowledge through higher education?

2. Do you have long-term goals of some kind that require higher education? It's okay if these goals might change.

3. Are you considering some type of graduate school? It's not necessary, but if you're considering it, mention it.

4. Do you have the stamina, focus, commitment, and discipline to get through college?

5. Do you take initiative, and are you self-motivated?

6. Have you gone beyond the high school curriculum to seek knowledge yourself? Do you question facts instead of simply memorizing them?

7. Are you able to overcome difficult circumstances and distractions in order to succeed?

8. Are you involved in extracurricular activities because you actually enjoy them, or do you do them just to look busy and get into college?

9. Do you really want to go to college X specifically? Or are you applying because your parents are making you? Or because it's a safety school?

10. Do you have something unique to offer college X that another applicant won't?

And, as always, show, don't tell.

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