Peanut Gallery and College Admission Essays
When Steve Jobs designed the iPhone, he didn’t poll the mailman, his closest friends, the dentist, and local assemblywoman to find out what they wanted in a phone. He just led the development of a great phone. He didn’t take their input on what they wanted because Steve Jobs didn’t believe people knew what they wanted. And Steve Jobs was right. It’s why he was one of the great technological innovators of our time — and all time.
When students and parents tell us that they’ve shown their essays to their English teachers and guidance counselors, we often ask them, “Have you asked the milkman too?” Oh, do milkmen no longer exist? Whoops. But you get the idea. We strongly believe that asking the peanut gallery for their opinions on your college admissions essays is not only a waste of time but it can really make your essays, well, worse. Your English teacher might be great at teaching “The Great Gatsby” but that doesn’t mean he or she knows what makes a great college essay. In fact, in most cases, they simply don’t know.
Don’t show your essays to your teachers. Don’t show them to the mailman or the milkman. Don’t show them to grandma and grandpa. The opinions of the peanut gallery matter not and almost every single time out of ten, these opinions will make your admissions essays not better but worse! Ignore the milkman.
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