Univ. of Pittsburgh: “The University seeks to enroll a diverse student body, full of talented and interesting individuals.”
College of William and Mary: “We are looking for leaders, for people with unique talents and the passion to pursue them, for people willing to stand up and be heard, for people who are creative, funny, interesting, and above all, interested in the world around them.”
University of California:
“We seek students who not only have demonstrated high levels of academic achievement, but who have sought out challenges and excelled, and who bring a diversity of talents, skills, viewpoints and experiences to the University.”
College admissions officer:
“The essay may articulate a better fit for the university.” Better than what?
“Self-knowledge is crucial to the matching process and lies at the heart of a successful college search.”
Grades and test scores
Great grades and test scores:
don’t guarantee admission;
are just pre-requisites for admission.
Holistic evaluation = quantitative and qualitative elements
Hard to write about yourself;
Hard to do it powerfully within 500 words;
Hard to admit that a one page essay can weight more than years of work (transcript, test scores, etc.)