A piece in “The Washington Post” by Judy Mandell entitled “What college admissions officers say they want in a candidate” features a quote from Tim Wolfe, the associate provost for enrollment and dean of admissions at the College of William & Mary, the second college in the American colonies. We figured we’d throw in a historical tidbit there just for fun. Anyhow, Tim’s quote concerns the importance of essays in admissions. Since we write quite regularly about how important all of the many college admissions essays are (and, yes, there are a whole lot more college essays than merely the Personal Statement on the Common Application), we figured we’d share with you Tim’s thoughts on the subject.
Tim states to “The Washington Post”: “Essays can help an admission committee better understand the individual and how he or she will add to the campus community. They are also an opportunity for us to evaluate a student’s ability to communicate through the written format. Whether you major in physics, history or business, you’ll need to write and be able to share thoughts and ideas with your professors and fellow students. The college application is an opportunity for the student to share his or her story and allows students the opportunity to add their voices to this process. We can get a glimpse into their personalities, and perhaps, learn something new about them, their backgrounds and experiences that doesn’t necessarily show up elsewhere in the application.”
Everything Tim says here is so very true. The essays are opportunities for students to articulate who they are, what makes them tick. It’s their opportunity to showcase how they’ve done their homework on each institution to which they’re applying, to show these schools how they’d be better off for having them on their campuses. The essays are a window into how an applicant thinks, which test scores and grades simply can’t convey. So are college essays important in the college admissions process to highly selective colleges? You bet they are.