Do admissions officers have favorite college essays? You bet they do. The best news we hear annually is when our students call approximately 15-30 seconds after decisions are announced (in most cases) to convey to us the news of their admission. We love those phone calls. We love those forwarded emails, those screen grabs of admissions decisions, even those videos that our students sometimes shoot of their parents learning the news. There’s nothing that beats it. After the stress of the highly selective college admissions process, with so much riding on these very kinds of decisions, it’s all suddenly lifted.
In fact, our students are often so excited that they sometimes forget to tell us some pertinent details that would have otherwise made our day. Each and every year — without exception — we have students who receive personalized notes from admissions officers at our nation’s most elite institutions that come with their admissions decisions. Maybe it’s an email they receive from an admissions officer the day decisions are released. Back in the day, these notes used to be written in pen on the admissions decisions themselves (they still sometimes are if schools elect to snail mail decisions in addition to releasing them through online portals and emails).
These notes often focus on our students’ college essays and the stories they’ve shared with admissions officers. They’re a human touch in an otherwise (seemingly!) impersonal process. And these notes make our day. What also makes our day is when the opening lines of our students’ essays become one of the school’s supplemental essay prompts the subsequent year or when one of our student’s essays may be referenced when folks reflect on their favorite college essays.
If you’re a high school college counselor, an admissions officer, a former admissions officer, or just someone who happens to read college essays, what are your all-time favorite college essays? We’re excited to hear from you!