Admission: Not Impossible

Application essay tips

November 8th, 2007 jsanders

Jrichardson Hi everyone!  After 17 flights, 4 buses, 2 boats, many a rental car, taxis and trains, I’m finally wrapping up the 2007 fall travel season and coming home!   Its been a wonderful fall, and all of the travel has been very interesting; I feel blessed to have met so many dynamic and intellectual students along the way!  From Flekke, Norway, to Tucson, Arizona, its all been very exciting.

Travel tip of the day: GPS.  If you don’t have one of these, get one … you’ll never be lost or frustrated over maps or directions again.  I would personally endorse the Garmin line.  I rented one of these while in Arizona and New Mexico, and am now poised to invest in my own – – a lifesaver!

So now its time to come back home and begin the “climb to the top of the mountain” as I call it – – the mountain of applications.  While we will likely receive more than 7,000 applications this year, one of the aspects of our process in which we take a tremendous amount of pride is the lengths we go to attempting to get to know each candidate.  Every application is read multiple times, by different people, each evaluating the various credentials we find within.  We rely on your transcripts … and what you teachers say about your work ethic and perseverance … and how well you did in your interview … and of course, how well your essay is written.

The Essay is undeniably one of the most important parts of your application materials.  By now, we hope, you’ve created your www.commonapp.org account, begun your application, and have presumeably been able to breeze through the first several pages which require you to complete your name, address, parents information, etc.  Presumably one of the items you’ve left for last is the essay.  Either you’ve decided to continue pondering the questions and are still debating which of the five you’d like to tackle, or you’re just outright procrasinating.

Do not procrastinateGet to work.

Please spend a lot of time working on this.  We spend a lot of time reading it, so we hope you spend a lot of time writing it.  A well written essay stands out not for its length, but rather for its content, imagery, and to what extent it “speaks to us”.  A few pieces of essay advice:

  • Take me there.  Make me react.  Allow me to see, smell, or hear (or do all of those) the subject about which you are writing.
  • Take caution on this windy road to a well written essay … you will never know who will be reading this masterpiece.  As you’ve seen through the blog and potentially through your other interactions with our staff, we have men, women, young, old(er), a priest, lay people, democrats, republicans … you will never know who will be reading your masterpiece.
  • Avoid humor; this can be very dangerous .. for the same aforementioned reasons .. you’ll never know who will be reading this.
  • Proofread – Proofread – Edit – Proofread     Edit – Proofread.     An essay which is free of grammatical and syntax errors says you care about your application and whether you not you are admitted; an essay which is less than perfect says something else – – I’ll leave that to you to imagine what it says.
  • Answer the question.  Whichever question you choose to answer, write about the subject.  Avoid tangents.  Get to the point already.
  • Always bring it back to speak about yourself.  Its wonderful for us to read all about the influence your Grandmother/father had on you, but Grandma isn’t applying to be a part of the Holy Cross community .. you are .. so always bring it back to talk about yourself.
  • Feel good about your finished product.  Write about those things you enjoy, believe in, or to which you are committed.  Doing this will show; not doing this, will show.
  • Spend more time on this, collectively, than on any other aspect of your application.  Make it good .. this is the only piece of writing you are required to submit.

Well, there are applications to read … I best get to work.  Good luck!

“Oh Auntie Em … there’s no place like home!”

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