I’ve been filling out lots of applications lately, and I got to thinking. Who reads my application essays?
People. People read your application essays.
Obvious, right? Useless information, right? Wrong. This is the key to understanding the admissions committee. Allow me to explain…
If robots were reading your essays, this would be a loooooooot easier. You’d plug in the right words in the right order, and POOF! Perfect essay. You’re accepted. But they’re not robots, they’re people, just like you. That means that there is no such thing as the “perfect essay.”
Now, is the adcom made up of a particular KIND of person? Sure. Typically, they’re recent alumni at the school to which you’re applying, mid-twenties to mid-thirties, and they want to build the best freshman class they can. There’s a TON of useful stuff in these details, because—behind your question—is the REAL question: for what audience am I writing my essays?
You’re writing for a relatively young audience that knows the school pretty well and wants to accept you. Let me say that again, because it’s important. They WANT to accept you. They’re not looking for reasons to deny you, they’re looking for reasons to accept you. So? Write to that person. Show your personality—remember, they enroll PEOPLE, not profiles. Show them that YOU’RE familiar with the school—reach out to current students and alumni and find out more about campus life, specific classes and programs, etc. Show them that you’re a careful writer—no misspellings, pay attention to word limits, all that stuff that shows that you’re taking the application seriously. Finally, show them that this is the school for you. Don’t just say, “I want to go to this school because it’s the best school ever.” Say, “I want to go to this school because it’s the best school for me, and here’s why…”
— Jon Frank