Admission News

How Much the College Essay Counts

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Everyone knows one of the more important parts of the college application is the personal essay. That’s why people make money writing books about writing the college essay, editing the essay, and running consulting camps for writing the essay, all costing anywhere from $150 to $2,500.

Whew, that essay must be important.

But, what is this essay, this personal essay? It is a first-person essay written correctly. That’s a tall order. Reveal yourself, your voice, and your passions while writing correctly, and do it even if your four years of high school never taught you to do so. Wouldn’t the personal essay be better replaced with a sample of your best high school writing? Even AP courses emphasize analytic essays over personal essays.

So how important are these essays? 26% of college admissions officers indicate the essay is of great importance. However, it is true that SAT or ACT scores are deemed more important. Also grades in college preparatory courses, if your high school has a rigorous curriculum, are more important than the essay.

However, in exclusive colleges, ones that accept only 50% of their applicants, all those factors begin to look the same: grades, scores, recommendations. In these colleges the essay can be more important than the GPA. Yes, one essay can be more important than the average of four years of work in high school, and why?—because it distinguishes like candidates from each other.

Maybe those essay services, even if expensive, can help you if you are bent on getting into an exclusive school.