The Ivy Coach Daily

September 30, 2011

Specifics in Why College Essays

Specifics in Why College essays matter a great deal in college admissions. Don’t write about reading on The Green in the winter if you’re applying to Dartmouth.

Specifics in Why College essays are king. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that writing about specifics in Why College essays isn’t a new point we’re making on our site. But, let’s face it, if you’re reading this blog, you already have a leg up in the college admissions process. Many students think they know what they should write. Many students are too lazy to change the content of the Why College essay for the various colleges to which they apply. In this post, we want to show you why this is the wrong approach with an example.

Think of the Why College essay like a cover letter to a prospective employer. What’s wrong with the following excerpt from cover letter to a prospective employer?:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am very interested in the opportunity to work as a sales associate at Honda. At Honda, I would get to work at one of the greatest American automakers, a company that was founded a little over 100 years ago.

What’s wrong? What isn’t wrong? This person is applying to Honda and yet the job applicant labels Honda, a Japanese automaker, as an American company. The candidate clearly cut and pasted his/her cover letter to Ford Motor Company and yet forgot to change the content.

You may think this is ridiculous but college applicants do this all of the time in their Why College Essays. They write a Why College essay for Dartmouth that talks about wanting to read a book on The Green in the winter. Really? The Green is covered in snow in the winter! If you didn’t happen to visit Dartmouth in the winter, at least do your research! Otherwise, you’ll be laughed at and, worse, be denied admission. We cannot stress enough how important it is to cite specifics in why college essays.

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