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Experts say that a stellar essay is the linchpin that will win the admissions department over.But what is less well known is that different colleges favor particular topics and even specific words used in essays.
Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study.
Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely.
Another’s essay was a list of her favorite books and focused on where each book was purchased.“One of the big questions our users have is whether they should take a risk with their essay, writing about something that reveals very intimate details about themselves or that takes an unconventional format,” Shyu says.
“What we’re finding is that successful essays are not ones that talk about an accomplishment or regurgitate that student’s résumé .
The vast majority of these essays come from current college students who were admitted within the last two or three years.
Admit See has a team that analyzes all of these materials, gathering both qualitative and quantitative findings.For example, you might relate a few anecdotes that on the surface seem unrelated—drawing from different parts of your life—but that all support and illustrate how you are guided by a particular value.Or, to return to the example of personal liberty as a theme, you could show how you take control of your academic and professional paths, adhering steadfastly to your values and vision.But in this short time, Admit See has already gathered 15,000 college essays in their system.Many are from people who got into well-ranked colleges, since they targeted these students first.The most compelling essays are those that touch on surprising personal topics.”Of course, one caveat here is that taking a risk only makes sense if the essay is well-executed.Shyu says that the content and structure of the story must make a larger point about the applicant, otherwise it does not serve a purpose.The first is that it is very valuable for applicants to tailor their essays for different schools, rather than perfecting one essay and using it to apply to every single school.The second is that these essays can offer insight into the culture of the school.And they’ve found some juicy insights about what different elite colleges are looking for in essays.One of the most striking differences was between successful Harvard and Stanford essays.