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.