Almost everyone has theories about what certain universities want in a potential applicant. “Harvard wants reclusive geniuses.” “Princeton wants outgoing athletes.” “Yale wants artsy free-spirits.” Try it with any top-tier university or college in the United States, just fill in the blanks….
_________________________________ wants _______________________ _______________________.
(Name of school) (awesome adjective) (plural noun)
Here’s the problem: no matter how you fill in the blanks, these theories tend to be extraordinarily wrong. Despite what people think they know about a school, there’s no way to reduce a student body down to a single type. In fact, admissions committees (AdComs) work hard to create diverse class profiles that do the exact opposite and defy categorization. “But Admissionado!” you cry, “If schools are looking to create diverse populations, what quality must I represent to appeal to these AdComs?!”
Well folks, it isn’t as easy as the“awesome adjective + noun” formula. The #1 quality AdComs want is a bit more intangible. Simply put, they want applicants with future potential.
Sweet, but how exactly does one prove future potential in the application? Ideally, the application should establish a strong record of past performance, but it should also suggest something about your future. Your essays are a golden opportunity to show (directly but sometimes indirectly) that you’ve had unique experiences that have made you grow and mature. These experiences have hopefully given you a cool and unique perspective on things which indicates that you are not only prepared for college, but are likely to succeed in that environment and beyond.
In reviewing applications, AdComs ask questions like: “What value will this applicant add to our community?” and “Will they improve the quality of life of those around them?” In creating your application, make sure that you not only detail your rich past, but that you also indicate a bright future ahead of you.