Many college applicants from China (and their parents) don’t fully understand that an applicant’s voice matters in highly selective college admissions. They often understand the importance of standardized test scores. They understand the importance of grades. They often even understand what having a unique hook means. But what too often isn’t clear to applicants and their parents in China is the importance of sharing one’s unique voice in an application. So many just don’t get it.
College essays are a unique opportunity for a college applicant to share their unique point of view, their outlook on the world. It’s an opportunity for a college admissions counselor to gain insight into who you are, what you’re all about, and what you hope to become. Ok, maybe a college essay doesn’t accomplish all of those things. But a good one often can — even if you’re writing about something as small as rubber-band balls. It’s often when you write about small things that you can say the most. When students try to write about big things like death or life lessons, essays have a habit of becoming trite.
So when admissions agents in China hand parents and students college essays from a stack to select one or two from, know that this is absolutely not the way to share one’s unique voice. In fact, it’s just the opposite. When the unethical admissions agent hands over those essays, push them right back at them and let them know that they don’t know what they’re doing. Tell them they’re unethical. Tell them they don’t know what it takes to get into highly selective American universities. Because they don’t. They’re utterly clueless in fact. Avoid them at all cost.
While you’re here, check out this post on Chinese Students and the Ivy League.