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The Ivy Coach Daily

September 5, 2012

Why College Essays Tip

The big mistake that most college applicants make is that they choose to cut and paste. So when they’re submitting their application to Williams College, they simply delete every reference to Amherst College and replace Amherst with Williams. They think they’re being so clever! Sometimes, these clever students even forget to delete one of the Amherst references. Do you know what happens when a Williams College admissions officer then reads the essay? They are very likely to put the application in the deny pile. The student couldn’t even bother to write an answer to Williams’ essay question? Well then they’re not going to bother admitting them. It’s that simple.

The Why College essay is not about finding and replacing. It’s about citing specific answers. It’s not about citing how beautiful the campus is. Every university has a pretty campus (or most do). College admissions officers know that when you say they’ve got a beautiful campus, you’re being overly general — likely because you wrote the same thing when you applied to ten other colleges.

College admissions counselors want to feel special. It’s like dating — you’ll know more about this in some years if you’re only a high school student. When you go out on a date, do you speak of other dates? No. Do you say that you like long walks on the beach and romantic dinners? No. You cite specifics. You don’t offer up trite statements (at least we hope not for the sake of your dating life). So follow the same advice in Why College Essays. Don’t offer up bland statements. And don’t make the mistake of finding and replacing. Oy vey. What a mistake!

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