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Getting into college can feel daunting to any high school student.
But they should not attempt to change the student's voice.
“Admissions officers can spot from a mile away if your parent wrote that essay,” said Mary Sue Youn, a Ridgewood-based college admissions consultant for the company College Coach.
North and the USA TODAY Network New Jersey asked experts to provide tips on how to write a great college essay, from brainstorming ideas to proofreading the final product.
Some colleges ask for a personal statement, and others provide a choice of topics, or prompts, for a student to write about.
While this may seem like a relatively straightforward question, it can be surprisingly challenging to navigate. Every other UC school, the south, and about a thousand other places.
To really nail this question you’ll have to be well-prepared, thoughtful, and organized, so in this blog post we’ve laid out the key principles to writing a great “Why us? The worst possible thing an applicant can do is turn this essay into a laundry list of generic reasons for choosing a school. “I want to attend Michigan because it is a big research university with great sports”…just like every other Big 10 school and countless others.“It’s a great story, but admissions reps are reading so many essays," so the theme or story must be different enough to capture their attention, Peterfriend said.Students should instead aim to write a story that is uncommon, or told from a unique perspective — one that delivers a bigger message or reveals information about the student.“It’s different writing than they’re used to,” Peterfriend said.Colleges are not looking for an ego boost here; they did not ask you this question for you to simply tell them how great they are. Instead, you should think of this question as “Why are we a perfect match for each other?” In doing so, you should be conveying who you are and why they have what you want.He wrote that he didn’t realize how much joy he could receive by helping someone else. Shames recalled one unforgettable essay in which a student, asked to write a page from his future autobiography, wrote about fishing with his future child —as he had with his own father and grandfather.“It was beautifully written,” Shames said. Here’s a kid who has compassion and respect for his father and wants to create a legacy for this child.That probably floats over to how the student acts in business and life.”Experts caution that while a great essay can be a “tipping point” to get a student noticed in a field of qualified applicants, an essay alone won’t be enough to get into college.What’s one way to stand out in a crowd of qualified students?Experts say well-crafted application essays can get an admissions officer to take notice and propel an applicant to the top of the heap.For Peterfriend, one essay that stood out came from a student who taught skiing to a disabled and nonverbal child.He wrote about how they communicated, and how he felt when he got to see the child ski down his first slope.