What Do Colleges Look For In An Essay

What Do Colleges Look For In An Essay? – Meet Colleges’ Expectations!

In the intricate tapestry of the college admissions process, the college essay emerges as a discerning thread that weaves the narrative of an applicant’s journey toward higher education.

The importance of this written piece transcends the quantifiable metrics of test scores and grades, for it serves as an indispensable medium through which colleges glean insights into the individual behind the application.

Notably, the college essay presents a unique avenue for applicants to convey their narrative, aspirations, and character to admissions committees, delineating a narrative beyond the confines of standardized metrics.

This article embarks on an exploration of the key elements that colleges scrutinize within the essay, encompassing authenticity, relevance, clarity, structure, and language.

It endeavors to shed light on the nuanced dimensions that collectively constitute a compelling college essay and provides valuable guidance to applicants seeking to navigate this pivotal component of the collegiate admissions process.

Amidst this process, the relevance and significance of the college essay are accentuated by the growing prevalence of paper writing services that offer assistance in crafting these compositions.

As such, it is imperative for applicants to not only understand the essentials of a compelling essay but also maintain their authenticity and individuality throughout the composition.

Authenticity and Personal Voice:

Within the intricate realm of the college admissions essay, authenticity and the projection of one’s personal voice emerge as elemental criteria upon which colleges scrutinize applicants’ written compositions.

Authenticity, in this context, conveys the imperative for applicants to craft essays that are genuine, sincere, and reflective of their individuality. It beckons aspiring students to unveil their true selves, recounting experiences and narratives that resonate with their own lives.

The significance of authenticity is underscored by its capacity to humanize the admissions process, allowing admissions committees to peer beyond mere statistics and achievements to encounter the unique individuals behind the applications.

Authenticity and Personal Voice
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A prime illustrative example of the valorization of authenticity can be gleaned from a Boomessays.com review, in which a student elucidates the transformative power of personal narratives in the admissions process.

Furthermore, it is incumbent upon applicants to interlace their personal experiences and emotions into their writing, rendering their essays not only informative but also emotionally resonant.

By juxtaposing their narrative and emotional elements, applicants can construct essays that resonate with the human experiences of admissions committee members, thereby increasing the potential for a memorable and impactful essay.

Moreover, the imperative to avoid overly formal or artificial language is a salient facet of conveying authenticity and personal voice.

College admissions essays are not mere exercises in rhetoric; they are opportunities for students to convey their perspectives and stories in an engaging and approachable manner.

The avoidance of overly formal language underscores the need for applicants to communicate in a manner reflective of their own voices, ensuring that the essay remains a true reflection of their personalities.

It is within the realm of language that individuality finds its most pronounced expression, and colleges value essays that authentically represent the author’s unique character.

Thus, the inclusion of one’s personal voice, characterized by colloquialisms and a conversational style, can transform a college essay from a conventional piece of writing into a compelling narrative that reflects the true essence of the applicant.

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Relevance to College and Program:

A pivotal facet of the college admissions essay is its capacity to manifest a profound relevance to the specific college or university to which an applicant seeks entry.

This aspect accentuates the need for aspiring students to meticulously tailor their essays to align with the unique attributes, values, culture, and expectations of the institution of their choice.

The tailoring of the essay in this manner not only reflects the student’s genuine interest in the college but also demonstrates an awareness of the institution’s distinct characteristics.

Relevance to College and Program
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Moreover, the capacity to align the essay with the institution’s values and culture presents a valuable opportunity for applicants to showcase how they may contribute to and thrive within the college’s academic and social environment.

This alignment can be further underscored through the inclusion of concrete examples that illustrate how the student’s goals and aspirations are intertwined with those of the college.

Indeed, it is not a uniform approach that applies to all colleges; rather, it is a nuanced process that demands meticulous research and the identification of specific attributes and programs that resonate with the applicant’s ambitions.

The importance of this tailored approach is exemplified by the realization that different colleges may necessitate varied approaches in the essay.

Admissions committees are poised to discern applicants who have invested effort in understanding the institution and have thoughtfully integrated this understanding into their essays.

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In practice, the relevance of the college admissions essay to the chosen institution takes the form of a compelling narrative, one that elucidates how the student’s academic and personal journey align with the unique opportunities and offerings provided by the college.

This alignment extends to the manner in which the essay encapsulates the student’s future goals and how these goals intertwine with the college’s programs, faculty, and community.

For example, an applicant seeking entry to a college renowned for its commitment to sustainability may demonstrate a passion for environmental advocacy and how this aligns with the college’s mission.

Conversely, an applicant with aspirations in computer science may emphasize their admiration for the institution’s distinguished faculty and advanced research programs in technology.

Furthermore, the essay can draw connections between the applicant’s own narrative and experiences and the college’s core values, thereby illustrating a cohesive commitment to the institution’s ideals.

This alignment is discerned by admissions committees as an indicator of the student’s sincere interest and potential contribution to the college community, substantiating the essay’s value as a vehicle of relevance to both the college and the program.

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Clarity, Structure, and Language:

The third cardinal point of scrutiny within the purview of college admissions essays revolves around the triad of clarity, structure, and language.

These elements constitute the very fabric upon which the essay is constructed, underpinning its capacity to effectively communicate the student’s narrative and ideas.

Clarity, Structure, and Language
source: collegebasics

Within this realm, clarity stands as a paramount facet, as it ensures that the essay’s message is easily comprehensible. Admissions committees seek essays that employ clear and straightforward language, which enables readers to engage with the content without impediments.

Clarity is fortified through the meticulous selection of words and expressions, which eschew ambiguity and obfuscation. Furthermore, a well-structured essay is held in high regard, signifying the student’s capacity to articulate their thoughts in a logical and coherent manner.

The essay’s structure should feature an engaging introduction that entices the reader, a compelling body that sustains interest and conveys the student’s narrative, and a memorable conclusion that provides closure and leaves a lasting impression.

To this end, applicants may benefit from adhering to a structural framework that presents their ideas systematically and ensures a seamless flow of information. In the realm of language, the importance of using appropriate language, grammar, and style cannot be overstated.

Admissions committees are discerning readers, and they appraise the essay for its adherence to language conventions, grammatical correctness, and stylistic finesse. A well-crafted essay not only communicates effectively but also exudes an aura of professionalism.

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Applicants are advised to exercise diligence in proofreading and editing to rectify errors and enhance the overall quality of the essay. Moreover, the use of an appropriate and consistent style contributes to the essay’s overall coherence and readability.

Style may encompass the use of active voice, the incorporation of vivid and descriptive language, and the avoidance of excessive jargon or overly complex sentence structures.

By attending to these facets, the student’s essay gains a polished and persuasive quality that resonates with admissions committees, thus enhancing its capacity to make a favorable and lasting impression.

In sum, clarity, structure, and language represent the fundamental attributes that underlie the essay’s efficacy in conveying the applicant’s narrative and ideas, making them pivotal points of evaluation within the college admissions process.


In college admissions, the essay stands as a pivotal instrument through which applicants can illuminate their unique narratives and attributes.

This article has expounded upon the multifaceted criteria by which colleges evaluate these compositions, encompassing authenticity, relevance, and the quality of writing.

These dimensions collectively constitute a compelling college essay, one that serves as a formidable portal through which applicants can connect with admissions committees and convey their individuality.

Summarily, the key takeaways regarding what colleges look for in an essay resides in the imperative to infuse authenticity and personal voice into the writing, to meticulously tailor the essay to the specific institution and program, and to embrace clarity, structure, and language as foundational elements.

Authenticity resonates as a quintessential criterion, engendering an essay that is genuine and sincere, reflective of the applicant’s individuality. Tailoring the essay to the chosen institution emerges as an exercise in relevance, whereby the essay aligns with the college’s values, culture, and expectations.

The quality of writing, manifesting as clarity, structure, and language, ensures that the essay effectively communicates the student’s narrative and ideas.

These tenets, when harmoniously integrated, render an essay that stands as a compelling and memorable vehicle for applicants to make a lasting impression on admissions committees.

In the final analysis, it is incumbent upon aspiring students to approach their college essays with thoughtfulness and sincerity, recognizing the potential of this written composition to be an authentic reflection of their character and aspirations.

As they embark on this critical aspect of the admissions process, the significance of authenticity, relevance, and effective writing should serve as guiding stars, illuminating the path toward creating essays that not only meet the criteria of colleges but also engage the hearts and minds of those who discern the narratives within.

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