How Important Are Application Essays?
If you are applying to college or graduate school, odds are you have to write dozens upon dozens of unique application essays, all responding to different prompts. It may seem like such a tedious, daunting task that you want to give up, re-use essays, or just not try very hard on each one. It may seem like application essays are dry or boring, and that no one on the other end actually reads them.
This could not be farther from the truth! An application essay makes or breaks your academic application, and often determines whether you are admitted to the school or program. It is imperative that you place a lot of emphasis and effort into writing every single one of your application essays, because they are read very closely, and are taken very seriously, and can make the difference between admission and rejection.
Essays Separate the Wheat from the Chaff
Other college admissions requirements such as GPA, coursework, test scores, and service are simply bare bones requirements that allow the school to cut its applications pile in half. These factors do not help a school determine who is a truly worthwhile applicant that must be admitted.
So do not assume that just because you have good (or bad!) grades or test scores that your application’s fate is sealed. This is not true. Once a school has separated its applicants into two categories based on GPA and test scores, the essays of the students with adequate scores are read very closely. You may have a lower GPA or SAT score than many other applicants, but if your essay is remarkable, you will be offered a spot at the school over any other candidate.
Essays Demonstrate True Academic Aptitude
Nothing can demonstrate a student’s potential for quality, unique thought quite like an essay. It is impossible to look at a student’s transcript and infer anything about their depth of thought, their ability to analyze deep subjects, or their ability to communicate. However, these skills are all essential components of college and graduate school success, and schools look closely for them. If you have a strong application essay, schools will take a vested interest in your and your future.
Essays are Read Closely
As mentioned above, factors such as grade point average and service experience are simply entered into a computer and automatically sorted. They are not analyzed closely or parsed on any deep level. This is not the case of application essays. In the entire application process, nothing is given as much close, human attention as the essay portion. This is the section of your college application where you are seen as a human and considered for your individual merits. Writing a strong essay can make all the difference and ensure you are seen as a student worth taking into a school, not just a number.