How important is the essay?

Application Process

Our Counselors Answered:

How important is the essay?

Deborah HellerDirector of College CounselingBeacon School

How important is the essay?

It depends on the college. At most large state schools its not going to be as important as it is at a small liberal arts college where admissions officers will spend much more time reading each application and paying attention to details. At most large universities colleges will first separate the yes and no piles by scores and grades and then the “maybe” pile will be looked at more closely and the essay can then become a significant factor. Students should view the essay as key piece in the process, because for them at some schools, it could be one! There is no way to know so put your all into the essays and interviews. This way at least you know you did everything in your power!

Brittany MaschalFounder/DirectorB. Maschal Educational Consulting

How important is the essay?

Very important! A close runner-up to your academic record (this encompasses courses and grades in high school as well as test scores), the essay(s) you submit with your college application are an extremely important component of your total application package. The percentage of all colleges, public and private, for which the essay is a significant factor in selectivity, has increased from 14% in 1993 to 25% in 2012, according to the National Organization for College Admission Counseling in its latest annual report. Inevitably, the more selective private institutions with their growing pools of high-performing applicants tend to review applications more holistically and, therefore, place the most emphasis on non-quantitative elements such as the personal statement or essays.

Andrew BelascoCEOCollege Transitions LLC

How important is the essay?

An essay’s importance in the admissions process depends on the student and the college to which he/she is applying. If the student is considered a “borderline” applicant, for example, the quality of his/her college essay may decide whether he/she ultimately receives an acceptance letter. This is especially so at smaller and more selective liberal arts schools, which often adopt a more holistic approach to applicant evaluation and which tend to assign more weight to college essays. However, it is important to realize that even the best essays can rarely compensate for less than adequate academic credentials–in most cases, a student is not likely to earn admission if his/her grades and/or test scores are far below those of the average incoming student, regardless of the strength of his/her essay. In contrast, a student with (relatively) superior grades and scores can usually overcome a less-than-average essay, so long as he/she does not make egregious grammatical errors, indicate disinterest, or convey a trait or attitude that causes concern among admissions staff.

Susan Knoppow

How important is the essay?

The essay is the more important than most people think it is. It follows grades, level of difficulty and test scores in importance. As admissions become increasingly competitive, it is the one opportunity a student has to stand out in the crowd. It can make difference!

Susan Knoppow

How important is the essay?

The essay is more important than most people think it is. It follows grades, level of difficulty and test scores in importance. As admissions become increasingly competitive, it is the one opportunity a student has to stand out in the crowd. It can make difference!

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

How important is the essay?

The essay plays an important part in your application process because, not only does it demonstrate your writing abilities to the admission committee, it often provides an opportunity for the reader(s) to learn more about you. The amount of weight placed on the essay will vary from school to school but a good rule of thumb is: if it’s a requirement, then it’s important!

Suzan ReznickIndependent Educational ConsultantThe College Connection

A strong essay could be a deal-breaker!

An excellent written essay could be a “tipper” factor for a borderline admit student to get accepted. On the other hand, a poorly written essay, with a bad choice of topic, can tip a students’ application into the reject pile. Essays will be more important for smaller schools that are committed to reading holistically. These smaller colleges want to ensure that the students that they accept would contribute positively to campus life both with their talents, leadership abilities and personal qualities. This should all be apparent in a good college essay.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

Like — Really Important

After your GPA, test scores and extracurriculars, your essay is next in importance! You’ve probably heard it MANY times before, but the essay is your chance to make your application come alive and to let admissions officers know that there is a living, breathing human being behind the numbers and litany of club memberships! Don’t procrastinate when it comes to your essay — start early and re-write often!

Ginger FayPresidentFay College Counseling, LLC

To you, very

While different admissions offices will place different weights on required essays and no one piece of paper in your application will ever be more important than your transcript, the essay is your once chance to speak directly to the admissions committee. Use that opportunity wisely.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

Essay Importance

While the essay may feel like an unnecessary evil, it is really quite useful when done well. The essay is a chance to put a face on your application. This is your chance to let the admissions committee see a side of you that they wouldn’t otherwise. Please don’t reiterate what is already included in the app. Instead, paint a picture that will be remembered long after your file is read. All things being equal among candidates, it may well come down to who made the readers laugh, cry or relate to their essay. Don’t discount this chance to let your personality shine through.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Importance of the essay in the application review

This really depends on the college and how they consider each portion of the application. Each college has its own priorities. The essay usually plays a larger role in the application process at schools who can spend more time on each applicant’s file. For instance, a large public university may not have the resources to devote to closely reading the essay portion of the application. The essay usually is in the top ten aspects taken under consideration in a holistic reading of an application.

Rebecca JosephExecutive Director & Foundergetmetocollege.org

Communicate your story: Write powerful college application essays

College application essays are the one thing high school seniors have complete control over senior year. They do not guarantee admissions to your top colleges, but they certainly help break ties and can tip you in. I just presented with an admissions officer from the University of Michigan, who said essays make students pop off the page and become 3-D for colleges. Essays are fourth in importance–behind grades, test scores, and rigor of your high school program–for many admissions offices. But so many kids squander this opportunity to focus on stories that reveal their leadership and initiative. Admissions officers get so bored reading many essays. Use this opportunity to sell yourself and tip yourself into many of your match colleges.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

express yourself and promote yourself

essay is the only way for you to express yourself without numbers and stamps from other people. you should consider this opportunity serioulsy to sell youself to the admissions office. there are many different ways of promoting yourself with honesty. Most Chinese students actually never write the essay themselves, they trust the agencies to do the job and they never see the submission afterwards.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

express yourself and promote yourself

essay is the only way for you to express yourself without numbers and stamps from other people. you should consider this opportunity serioulsy to sell youself to the admissions office. there are many different ways of promoting yourself with honesty. Most Chinese students actually never write the essay themselves, they trust the agencies to do the job and they never see the submission afterwards.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Importance of the essay in the application review

This really depends on the college and how they consider each portion of the application. Each college has its own priorities. The essay usually plays a larger role in the application process at schools who can spend more time on each applicant’s file. For instance, a large public university may not have the resources to devote to closely reading the essay portion of the application. The essay usually is in the top ten aspects taken under consideration in a holistic reading of an application.

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

The college essay

It is more important to some colleges than others. For instance, if you are an automatic admit (in the top 10% of your graduating class) the essays need to be written but they aren’t going to make the difference between getting in or being declined. For smaller colleges a great essay is a tip factor, meaning that it could tip a decision in your favor. You do not get in based solely upon your essay, but the more it stands out the better.

Christine PetermanCollege AdvisorPrep 4 Admission

Sharing your “voice”

As part of the admissions decision, the essay is your chance to show the admissions committee who you are. The essay should truly be a personal statement. Your tone will give the committee an idea of your personality. This is your time to share your “voice.” The key is to be yourself, and to choose a topic that says something about what’s important to you. The committee wants to gain insight into you, they are also going to learn about you from the thoughtfulness and the quality of your writing.

Barak RosenbloomCollege essay mentor, guide and editor essaymentors.com

Assume it’s the most important part of the application…

…unless you know for a fact that the schools you’re applying to don’t care. Why leave anything to chance? Unless you’re applying to a school where you get in automatically based on grades, make every part of your application as good as you can. The more selective the school, the more important the essay. At some schools it may not matter, and others it will make all the difference. It may be the little piece that puts you over the top. It may be what gets you off the wait list. Or, it may be what makes the admissions officer say “nope, this kid didn’t even try.” Do your best job, put your best foot forward, be yourself. Those are some good guidelines for life, by the way!

Corey FischerPresidentCollegeClarity

The essay is very important

It is important to you because it gives you a chance to show the college something about you that they are not seeing in the rest of your application. The essay gives you an opportunity to let your personality shine through. It is important to the college because they can learn about a different side of you, but also get a sense of your writing skills. Writing an essay quickly and sending it off will hurt you as a reader can tell when a piece was written hastily. You want to write it and set it aside and revisit it, get some input from your counselor or teacher (not friends). Revise it again. Make sure it is not superficial and it does not just reiterate what can already be learned from the rest of your application

Barak RosenbloomCollege essay mentor, guide and editor essaymentors.com

Assume it’s the most important part of the application

Actually, assume that everything is the most important part of the application! Why leave anything to chance? Unless you’re applying to a school where you get in automatically based on grades, make every part of your application as good as you can. At some schools it may not matter, and others it will make all the difference. It may be the little piece that puts you over the top. It may be what gets you off the wait list. Or, it may be what makes the admissions officer say “nope, this kid didn’t even try.” Do your best job, put your best foot forward, be yourself. Those are some good guidelines for life, by the way!

Barak RosenbloomCollege essay mentor, guide and editor essaymentors.com

Assume it’s the most important part of the application

Actually, assume that everything is the most important part of the application! Why leave anything to chance? Unless you’re applying to a school where you get in automatically based on grades, make every part of your application as good as you can. At some schools it may not matter, and others it will make all the difference. It may be the little piece that puts you over the top. It may be what gets you off the wait list. Or, it may be what makes the admissions officer say “nope, this kid didn’t even try.” Do your best job, put your best foot forward, be yourself. Those are some good guidelines for life, by the way!

Benjamin CaldarelliPartnerPrinceton College Consulting, LLC

How important is the essay?

The essay is extremely important to understand and evaluate students. Essays can often be the most critical part of the the application when students have similar academic records.

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

Essays Matter, but Are Only One Piece of the Puzzle

The importance of the essay, like so much else in the application process, depends upon the applicant and the school. At some schools the admissions process is more about crunching numbers than anything else and in those cases the essays matter little. At places where the admissions office must make distinctions among many qualified applicants it can be a definite factor. Indeed, the essay offers applicants a chance to present themselves in their own voice, an opportunity that one always wants to maximize. Applicants should be sure to respond to the prompt, but in a way that gives the reader a greater understanding of who they are and what they will bring to the community the school is seeking to create. The worst thing an applicant can do is write an essay that does not reveal anything about them. Make it work for you. Make it the final piece in your story.

Riche Holmes GrantPresidentInnovative Study Techniques

The essay is a very important component of your application!

The essay is your opportunity to shine! It’s the one place where you can differentiate yourself from others who have similar grades and SAT scores and make your application memorable in the eyes of the admissions committee. Even if a school does not require an essay, submit one anyway to make yourself stand out even more. When you write the essay, it’s important to be true to who you are, not who you think the admissions officers want you to be. I recommend brainstorming ideas in the summer and then going through several drafts before you submit your final essay with your application. You can and should ask others to read your drafts and assist with edits, but by no means should anyone else (like your parents:-) write your essay for you.

Chip LawCo-founder Managing Director Educational Avenues

The essay or personal statement : critical to your success?

Okay we hear it all the time…the essay is THE most important part of your college application. If it is not perfect you have NO chance to get into that school that you have your heart set on.The essay is the ONLY way to distinguish yourself from others…and so on and so on. Some of the above might be a tiny bit truthful, but for the most part the essay should be looked at as an opportunity rather than a weighty burden on a busy student’s college application journey. Admissions professionals, for the most part, look at a student’s body of work holistically: GPA, rank, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, interviews AND the essay. It is true that some colleges state that they place a lot of weight on the essay, while others indicate that it is just one of the criteria that they use to make admission decisions. Nonetheless, the essay IS a part of the admission landscape so you really need to give it your best shot. The essay is your chance to shine, to tell the admissions team things about yourself that will make them eager to know more about you and think positively about how you would be an asset to their campus. It is this information and how you show them something interesting about yourself that is REALLY important.

Melissa Vion

THIS IS YOUR MOMENT TO BRING YOURSELF TO LIFE…

The essay is a critical piece in the application process! This may be the only opportunity you get to show exactly who you are, what you stand for and where your passions lie. Unlike the rest of the application in which you are completing mostly statistical information, the essay gives you the chance to think outside of the box and let the Admissions Representative know exactly why selecting you for admission is a wise choice. With an array of essay topics to choose from, pick one that makes sense to you. Perhaps you want to talk about the moment you helped your athletic team to win an important game. Maybe you want to shed some light on a mission trip that you took to China. Whatever topic you choose, remember to be creative! Also, remember to proof, proof, proof! Grammar and punctuation count, as this is not a text message! It is also important to note that your essay should be kept within the guidelines, with many between 250-500 words. Keep in mind that Admission Representatives get tons of applications to read, so you want to make yourself stand out, while engaging them in a short period of time.

Mollie ReznickAssociate DirectorThe College Connection

Very important.

The personal statement is arguably one of the most important components of a student’s college application. This is especially true if you are applying to a smaller school which has the resources to view your application “holistically”. This is your chance to lend your application a third dimension, to transcend your grades and test scores, and figuratively speak to the admissions officers. This opportunity should not be taken lightly. Likely, your essay won’t make or break your admission at a certain school, but if you really let an admissions officer “get to know” you, and he likes what he sees, this could carry huge sway in whether he wants to admit you.

Lora LewisEducational ConsultantLora Lewis Consulting

How important is the essay?

Very. While grades still remain the most important factor most colleges consider in their decision-making process, the essay is almost always the only opportunity a college will have to “hear” your voice and learn about who you are. It also allows them to evaluate your writing and critical thinking abilities. Put a great deal of thought and effort into your essay. Don’t write it at the last minute. Use those 500 words to share things about yourself that colleges can’t learn from other parts of your application. Let your personality and voice shine through. You never know–it could be your essay that gets you in.

Chip LawCo-founder Managing Director Educational Avenues

The essay or personal statement : critical to your success?

Okay we hear it all the time…the essay is THE most important part of your college application. If it is not perfect you have NO chance to get into that school that you have your heart set on.The essay is the ONLY way to distinguish yourself from others…and so on and so on. Some of the above might be a tiny bit truthful, but for the most part the essay should be looked at as an opportunity rather than a weighty burden on a busy student’s college application journey. Admissions professionals, for the most part, look at a student’s body of work holistically: GPA, rank, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, interviews AND the essay. It is true that some colleges state that they place a lot of weight on the essay, while others indicate that it is just one of the criteria that they use to make admission decisions. Nonetheless, the essay IS a part of the admission landscape so you really need to give it your best shot. The essay is your chance to shine, to tell the admissions team things about yourself that will make them eager to know more about you and think positively about how you would be an asset to their campus. It is this information and how you show them something interesting about yourself that is REALLY important.

Wendy KahnPrincipalWendy Kahn College Consulting, LLC

The essay is your opportunity to tell colleges how you see yourself

A college application is filled with information about how other people see you – your grades, your test scores, lists of your activities, and your teacher and counselor recommendations. The college essay is critical because it’s the only part of your application that tells colleges how you see yourself. The college essay is designed to give a group of strangers a small “snapshot” of who you are and how you became that person. It should tell a story only you could tell: If it could describe anyone else who had a similar experience, it’s not doing its job. And whatever experience you write about– it can be a small experience or a series of small experiences — it should be one that in some way changed your beliefs or gave you a new insight into yourself or the world around you. When they read essays, colleges are looking for evidence that you’ve grown. Your task is to find a real story from your own life that was a moment of transformation. To achieve that goal, you have to tell the story in the first person and in your own voice.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

How Important Does the College Think It Is?

Short Answer: It’s only important if the institution stresses the importance of it. The fact is, if your grades and board scores are good-to-excellent, they probably won’t look at your essay or letters of recommendation. Detailed Answer: Many institutions are moving toward automatic “review” of applications. In other words, there is an algorithm on the backend (the same data that enabled the college to automatically begin communicating with you as soon as your PSAT scores became available) that crunches your numbers – SAT/ACT, GPA, RIC) and decides whether you are in or out. This means that your entire relationship with a college has been via a machine; no one knows who you are or that you even exist – except as a number the institution can manipulate to its advantage. Now, if the machine says you are “out,” the admissions staff will begin to look more closely at the eliminated applications and admit/deny these students until the admissions department reaches its enrollment goals. At that point, the admissions officers may be searching for more information about you, such as explanations of grade anomalies. They may find this information in your essay or in your letters or recommendation, or in a letter that you include with your application. The most important point to remember is this: If the institution stresses an essay or a personal statement, pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION to what they request of that essay or personal statement . In other words, if you write a generic essay to send to all your college search choices, and it is clear to the admissions officer reading your essay that you have not paid attention to what they wanted to see in the essay (subject, length, structure, etc.), your application will be denied simply because it is clear that 1) you cannot follow instructions or 2) you didn’t care enough about applying to their institution to follow their instructions. And they will be right on both counts. For example, if you look at the Purdue application this year, they offer three choices of essay topics, each one carefully considered to allow different types of students to write something that matters to them. This presentation of their essay request shows that they DO value the essay, and if you want to get into Purdue – and especially if your grades and board scores aren’t stellar – then you’d better pay attention to this part of the application. Other institutions, such as Indiana University-Bloomington, specifically state that they do not want to receive essays – so if you submit an essay, this also shows that you cannot follow directions. The major reason for an institution to not request an essay is that essay-reading slows down the application review process. Colleges don’t want admissions officers reading essays when those officers can simply be crunching through the numbers on applications and making their decisions based solely on a student’s past successes or challenges – which is why it’s so important to do well in high school from 9th grade through 11th grade. The fact is that most admissions decisions are based on 8th-11th grade trends; they only look to senior grades at the end to ensure that you continued strongly and didn’t get “senioritis.” One more point about essays: A seasoned admissions officer can tell if you’ve written the essay yourself; if your Mom or Dad wrote it; or if you bought it off the Internet. We’d rather see errors in the writing of a wonderful and unique essay than perfect writing in a boring, uninformative essay (or in an essay that does not pertain to what has been requested.) But you would be wise to have whatever you’ve written be proofread: Spell check won’t cut it; it has to be a human being.

Kathryn MarchEducational and Career ConsultantKathryn March, M.S., CEP

The Application Essay

The essay is a very important part of the college application. The essay gives the applicant a chance to demonstrate not only his or her writing style, but to highlight an important characteristic or ability that may not have been mentioned in any other component of the application. The essay truly gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths and to distinguish themselves from the other applicants. A great essay will leave the reader with a desire to know the author and will encourage an admissions committee to consider how the student might contribute to their campus.

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

How important is the essay?

Depending on the college, the essay can be quite important. The most important component of any application are the student’s grade and academic rigor. Assuming the student meets the academic criteria, the essay can set the student apart from others in the potential admit pile.

. .

How important is the essay?

THIS IS YOUR MOMENT TO BRING YOURSELF TO LIFE… The essay is a critical piece in the application process! This may be the only opportunity you get to show exactly who you are, what you stand for and where your passions lie. Unlike the rest of the application in which you are completing mostly statistical information, the essay gives you the chance to think outside of the box and let the Admissions Representative know exactly why selecting you for admission is a wise choice. With an array of essay topics to choose from, pick one that makes sense to you. Perhaps you want to talk about the moment you helped your athletic team to win an important game. Maybe you want to shed some light on a mission trip that you took to China. Whatever topic you choose, remember to be creative! Also, remember to proof, proof, proof! Grammar and punctuation count, as this is not a text message! It is also important to note that your essay should be kept within the guidelines, with many between 250-500 words. Keep in mind that Admission Representatives get tons of applications to read, so you want to make yourself stand out, while engaging them in a short period of time.

Chuck SlatePresidentCollege Advisors,LLC

How important is the essay?

Very important. Long before it was fashionable to go “Test Score Optional” (Fairtest.org), the most intellectual college in America–St John’s(Annapolis) was primarily interested in using your written expression as a guage for admissions. Most competitive colleges use 9-14 factors for admissions and the essay is one of these factors. If you are a senior and many of the 9 factors are already beyond change (eg:class rank, gpa, etc) one of the remaining ways to impress admissions is your yet-to-be-written essay!!

Geoff BroomeAssistant Director of AdmissionsWidener University

How important is the essay?

It really depends on the college. It is not looked at as heavy as GPA, Course Rigor or test scores, but for some colleges it is looked at. It may be the differentiating factor between two students. Some colleges are essay optional. I would look at the student profile at a college that is essay optional. If your test scores and GPA fall on the lower half of the student profile of that institution, then I would send the essay. Give the admissions office additional reasons to admit you.

Geoff BroomeAssistant Director of AdmissionsWidener University

How important is the essay?

It really depends on the college. It is not looked at as heavy as GPA, Course Rigor or test scores, but for some colleges it is looked at. It may be the differentiating factor between two students. Some colleges are essay optional. I would look at the student profile at a college that is essay optional. If your test scores and GPA fall on the lower half of the student profile of that institution, then I would send the essay. Give the admissions office additional reasons to admit you.

Martin Rogers

How important is the essay?

The essay is very important, in that it gives you two opportunities that might not otherwise appear on your application. Both of these opportunities involve presenting a more complete picture of yourself. The essay is foremost a way for students to synthesize their skills, achievements, and interests into a cohesive portrait for admissions counselors. So maybe you won an award for achievement in math coursework, and spent time volunteering at a community center, and organized a new athletic team at your high school; the essay is a way to demonstrate that all of those things are somehow connected, and that they are all demonstrations of your success at meeting challenges. You can also use the essay to demonstrate that what you have achieved in high school is really just one step on the way to your next achievement, and that you have chosen their institution specifically because it can play a role in helping you along your trajectory. The essay connects the dots, showing not only where you have been but where you are going, and if done correctly you are basically offering the institution a chance to be part of your story. The second reason why the application essay is so important is because writing is often considered to be the best predictor for college success. This is because writing a coherent and interesting application essay is truly a challenge of synthesis – that is, a well-written essay requires a comprehensive set of writing skills, general knowledge, confidence, and style. This is why writing is such a good predictor: because it requires a combination discipline, skill, and knowledge. So on paper you don’t look like a “well-rounded” student, or maybe you took challenging courses at the risk of a less-than-stellar GPA. The essay is not only a chance for you to explain these scenarios, but also a way to show off that you effectively communicate past these perceived weakness in your application and that you demonstrate a mastery over the kind skills that will determine your academic success. So do take time with your essay, and try to tailor each one to the specific colleges to which you apply. Always play to your strengths in your essay instead of trying to write something earth-shatteringly profound. And always use the essay to show how your target institution fits into your “big picture.”

Zahir RobbCollege CounselorThe Right Fit College

How important is the essay?

While rated below GPA, Course Load, and Test scores for most universities, the essay still remains an important factor in admissions. The essay allows the candidate to express something that cannot be determined based on data alone. Make sure you spend plenty of time on this part of the application and that it represents the best you have to offer.

Heather TomaselloWriting CoachThe EssayLady, LLC

How important is the essay?

More students are applying to more colleges. The result? It just keeps getting harder to get in, even to “back up” schools. Application essays also play a greater role in determining the strength or weakness of an application. Admissions officers and scholarship review committees understand that grades and scores are limiting, and cannot adequately show the complete picture of a student.Your essay is your opportunity to tell your story, to rise above the competition, and to convince admissions officers that their university is not only the perfect fit for you, but that you are the perfect fit for it.

adam baerWriter and Editor for Top National Magazines, Websites, and Newspapers

How important is the essay?

Crucial. It’s your only chance to both tell people about yourself in the application, and to show admissions officers how you express yourself in written language. Many students get excellent grades and test scores but may lack great writing skills as well as compelling ways to tell their story. Your essay is your calling card, and it’s the most important part of the application in many ways, once you’ve been screened by test scores as someone who might receive an acceptance. Capitalize on the opportunity, and don’t fear it.

Allen Regar

How important is the essay?

The college essay is not going to be as important as your grade point average, the rigor of your courses, or your standardized test scores (unless the college is test-optional), but it is nevertheless important. By the time you begin to write your college essay, most of your academic history is already set. You will have three years’ worth of grades already completed, some if not all of your standardized test scores, and your extracurriculars. Although your teacher and guidance counselor might not have completed their letters of recommendation by the time you start your essay, you can’t control what they will write. The personal statement is the last piece of your application (other than the application itself) that you have *total* control over. And it may be the one piece of information that helps the admissions committee decide the fate of your application, and if you get in, the financial aid you receive. One of our seniors last year won a large scholarship to a prestigious school in the Mid-Atlantic region due to the fact that his personal statement, according to the director of admissions at the college, was spectacular. Remember, you should consider every part of your application important, and the personal statement is no exception. Give it your best. Write, rewrite, and rewrite again. Have multiple people look over your essay, and listen openly to their thoughts about it. In the end, the essay may mean the difference between an acceptance or a rejection.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

How important is the essay?

How important the essays are may vary from one institution to another, but a student should carefully consider the development of his/her essays since the essays are the one way that schools can find out more about a student personally, after considering the rather static lists of activities, grades, standardized test results, and so on. Teacher and Counselor recommendations also reveal aspects of the student as a person, but the essays are the part of the application in which the student’s “voice” will come through. I am almost certain that one of my clients was accepted at the university she ultimately attended because of the clever formulation of one of her essays. She even got a personal note from one of the admissions officers about it. All of the other parts of her application were at a high level, as well, but it was the essay that caught the admissions officer’s eye.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

How important is the essay?

It usually is very important, and some colleges attach extra importance, but some don’t. No one really knows for sure, so write one that’s superlative in both content & grammar!

Eileen Ed.D.Associate DirectorEducational Directions, Inc.

How important is the essay?

The essay is an integral and important part of the application process. For some students, it can make the difference between getting in or being deferred, or even of being rejected. A good essay conveys not only who you are but how you express who you are! As such, the essay needs to be focused and well written. By that, I do not mean use your thesaurus! If you are honest and choose a topic close to your heart, you will be able to talk about it easily–so it will be easy to write! And if it is honest and easy to write, and you have had someone check for errors, it will convey who you are–often in a way that is better than any transcript can convey.

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

How important is the essay?

The “essay” has become increasing important and is now becoming the determining factor for admissions as well as merit aid money.

Inna BeilinaStudent

How important is the essay?

The essay is that place where you’re free to express whatever you think, feel and dream about. It’s a very important part of your application because exactly here the admission can study you as a person, find out about your inner world, and discover your personality type. It is very important to be interesting. Even if your SAT scores are average, but you KNOW that you’re clever, talented and overall a cool person, express your best in… where? Yes, in your essay! Make it honest, emotional, funny, serious, clever, natural and entertaining… like if you share your story with your friend. Admission guys are also human beings, and they really look forward to reading your story if it’s interesting and worth reading. Just go from your heart, and your story will be heard! Good luck! P.S.: Have you ever read “Chicken Soup for the Soul?” Oh God, there are so many real stories that really touch hearts of their readers. I recommend to take a look at those stories, so you could understand what great short stories (essays) should be like. Make your essay memorable, educational and touchable! But first off, make it SINCERE! 🙂

Inna BeilinaStudent

How important is the essay?

The essay is that place where you’re free to express whatever you think, feel and dream about. It’s a very important part of your application because exactly here the addmission can study you as a person, find out about your inner world, discover your personality type. It is very important to be interesting. If your SAT scores are average, but you KNOW that you’re clever, talented and overall cool person, so express your best in… where? Yes, in your application essay. Make it honest, emotional, funny, serious, clever, natural and entertaining… like if you share your story with you friend. Admission guys are also human being and they really look forwatd to read your story if it’s ineresting and worth to read. Go from your heart, and your story will be heard! Good luck! P.S.: Have you ever read “Chicken Soup for the Soul?” Oh God, there are so many real stories that really touch thier readers. Make it memorable, educational and touchable! But first off, make it SINCERE! 🙂

Inna BeilinaStudent

How important is the essay?

The essay is that place where you’re free to express whatever you think, feel and dream about. It’s a very important part of your application because exactly here the addmission can study you as a person, find out about your inner world, and discover your personality type. It is very important to be interesting. If your SAT scores are average, but you KNOW that you’re clever, talented and overall cool person, so express your best in… where? Yes, in your application essay. Make it honest, emotional, funny, serious, clever, natural and entertaining… like if you share your story with you friend. Admission guys are also human being and they really look forwatd to read your story if it’s ineresting and worth to read. Go from your heart, and your story will be heard! Good luck! P.S.: Have you ever read “Chicken Soup for the Soul?” Oh God, there are so many real stories that really touch thier readers. Make it memorable, educational and touchable! But first off, make it SINCERE! 🙂

Inna BeilinaStudent

How important is the essay?

The essay is that place where you’re free to express whatever you think, feel and dream about. It’s a very important part of your application because exactly here the addmission can study you as a person, find out about your inner world, and discover your personality type. It is very important to be interesting. If your SAT scores are average, but you KNOW that you’re clever, talented and overall a cool person, so express your best in… where? Yes, in your application essay! Make it honest, emotional, funny, serious, clever, natural and entertaining… like if you share your story with you friend. Admission guys are also human beings, and they really look forward to reading your story if it’s ineresting and worth reading. Just go from your heart, and your story will be heard! Good luck! P.S.: Have you ever read “Chicken Soup for the Soul?” Oh God, there are so many real stories that really touch their readers. I recommend to take a look at those stories, so you could understand what great short stories (essays) should be like. Make your essay memorable, educational and touchable! But first off, make it SINCERE! 🙂

Inna BeilinaStudent

How important is the essay?

The essay is that place where you’re free to express whatever you think, feel and dream about. It’s a very important part of your application because exactly here the addmission can study you as a person, find out about your inner world, and discover your personality type. It is very important to be interesting. If your SAT scores are average, but you KNOW that you’re clever, talented and overall a cool person, so express your best in… where? Yes, in your essay! Make it honest, emotional, funny, serious, clever, natural and entertaining… like if you share your story with you friend. Admission guys are also human beings, and they really look forward to reading your story if it’s interesting and worth reading. Just go from your heart, and your story will be heard! Good luck! P.S.: Have you ever read “Chicken Soup for the Soul?” Oh God, there are so many real stories that really touch their readers. I recommend to take a look at those stories, so you could understand what great short stories (essays) should be like. Make your essay memorable, educational and touchable! But first off, make it SINCERE! 🙂

Jessica BrondoFounder and CEOThe Edge in College Prep

How important is the essay?

The essay is a very important part of your application. This is one of the few chances that the college gets to see you as more than a number or a statistic. Up to this point you have only been able to list your grades, accomplishments, and activities, but you have not been able to show them your personality, or tell them why you are proud of those accomplishments, or love those activities. Make sure in your essay that a college will really be able to hear your voice through it. Colleges pick students they think will be a great fit for the school both in terms of academics and attitude. Your best chance of finding the right school is being true to your own personality- it’s not worth getting into a great school if you hate it, so let them see you for you!

Janet Elfers

How important is the essay?

The essay may be the most important piece. Why? Because that is the only way students have to “tell their story.” The essay reveals a great deal about you as a student. It may show what is important to you, how you react to events in life, how you solve problems, how you relate to others, and it might reveal something about your personality. In addition, it gives the admission office a great writing sample. That’s why you should spend a fair amount of time getting the essay right.

Save time. Let us search for you.

Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.

Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!

START YOUR SEARCH