If your child is a rising senior, with any luck, he has begun to give thought to writing the essays that will accompany the college applications he submits in the fall. Even if your kid is unsure of where he’ll apply, for many students the chances are good that they will ultimately need to write the UC and Common App essays, so they can start there—now!
Once the process has begun, there are a great many things to consider. One that is often overlooked is the reality that the student is writing each essay for an audience--an actual human being who will read and make judgments based on the end product. Placing himself in that person’s shoes, will guide your student in choosing a topic and deciding how to write about it.
College admissions officers use the essay portion of the application to get a sense of who each student really is. They are looking to understand his personality, character and values, potential for growth, passions, love of learning. But they don’t want to get him just for the sake of getting him. To do their jobs well, they need to make the right choices in recommending students for admission. What they’re looking for really boils down to two key issues:
Will this student succeed at our school? Does he seem to have the smarts, writing skills, personality, character, and attitude to feel comfortable and achieve on our campus?
Will this student contribute to our campus community? Will he be involved and engaged? Will he bring diverse viewpoints/skills/talents that will add to the richness and vitality of our school?
So as your child begins the essay process, make sure that he gives thought to the two overriding questions that will be on the minds of the people deciding if he’s a good choice for their school.--and that the answer will be an unequivocal yes!