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But in reality, many otherwise-capable teens have no clue where to start.
“I (didn’t) care about polish …I would rather see a few mistakes to show that the student wrote it,” she says.
“It’s like the difference between handmade and machine-made.” Sandoval-Dancs adds: “We want to feel like they are talking to us: (like) they’re sitting there.” In this competitive climate, many students think their essay must reflect an earth-shattering achievement, like curing cancer or ending world starvation, but that’s not its purpose.
“We read the essays,” Richard Harding Shaw, dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid at Stanford, says by email.
Similarly, Amy Jarich, assistant vice chancellor and director of undergraduate admissions at Berkeley, writes: “We read every application, including the two personal statements, by two separate readers.” Jennifer Sandoval-Dancs, director of admission at Claremont Mc Kenna College (CMC) near Los Angeles assured that they read every essay: “Any school that’s really holistic reads them and requires only what they actually use.” In other words, they wouldn’t ask for them if they didn’t read them.
Krahnke says she helps students discover for themselves what’s inside by telling them to step away for a moment from the frenzied pre-college race “to find the thing inside of (them)…removing the mask they wear, and talk about their lives and world.” She advises: “Shut down your tech…and close your eyes, wave away the voices you hear every day… Hear what it’s telling you.” She says “very often the thing you think is worthless to know about you is the very thing that makes you special.” For instance, she advised one student to keep “his wonky use of phrasing” because it made him sound real and not “like just another cog in the genius machine.” Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising at Stanford and author of and produce a piece of writing that allows them to emerge from the two-dimensionality of grades, scores, and lists of things done into a three-dimensional human…The more your actual kid pops off the page the better.” Using a Professional Coach “We..hiring of professional essay coaches completely distasteful,” Stanford’s Shaw told me.
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“It is not the student’s work so (it’s) not honest or authentic.
Still, she acknowledges that there is such a thing as “an objectively good essay.” On Unigo, Heathman says, “Great essays pull (readers) in like great novels,” and she tells students to “give them a great reason to tune in and read it all the way through!
” According to Krahnke, essays – particularly those submitted to smaller, selective schools – should demonstrate that the student “has clearly done some deep thinking.” She says “schools are looking for signs of motivation,” and want essays to be personal.
The author says, however, that some essays are afforded 20 minutes, and others just a perfunctory glance.
Jager-Hyman also confirms what my college fair buddy shared: essays are used to help “choose between this valedictorian and that one” in the highly competitive schools.