The College Essay Spectrum

College Essay Spectrum, University Essay Spectrum, Ivy League Essay Spectrum

This is the Spectrum of College Essays as we see it. The essays of our students, of course, do not fall on this spectrum. What do you think of our art? It’s likely as bad as your college essay. So don’t laugh. Or do. It’s part of our point.

A student recently came to us with a question along these lines, “I have a completed Personal Statement and just need someone to read and review it. Maybe make a few edits. I don’t need all your help with crafting a great essay. Can this be arranged?” If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that this question elicited an eye roll from us. Of course, that “completed Personal Statement” is — in all likelihood — absolutely terrible. Just because you’ve strung 500 words together and put them on a page does not mean you’re any further along than a student who hasn’t strung together two words on a page. In fact, you might even be behind that student who hasn’t even begun depending upon just how terrible your essay is. And it is a spectrum of terrible.

So if you come to us asking to read and review your college admissions essay, we’ll likely say no. Because we know it’s not going to help you. Sure, we can tell you what’s wrong with it. But if you want us to roll up our sleeves and help you brainstorm a new college essay, that’s a whole different beast. The 500 words that you managed to string together (that isn’t impressive — sorry!) — it’s likely a waste of time. There’s a good chance the entire topic for the essay isn’t good. And the writing — the execution of it — is probably even worse.

We get these kinds of questions all of the time and we imagine we’ll get it many more times in the future. The one thing that we can promise you is this: The 500 words you strung together fall somewhere on the above spectrum. And it’s likely in the “Oy” category. Sorry to break it to you. The truth can hurt.

While you’re here, check out this post on bad college essays. Don’t write bad college essays. We can help! So fill out our free consultation form today to get started — especially for you rising high school seniors.


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