College Trends 2014: The Right Side of the Brain

Here’s the hard truth: SAT vocabulary words do not make a stunning essay anymore. Impressive, perhaps, but vocabulary alone will not shift an essay from the generic category into the impression-making category. Admissions officers read thousands over the course of an admissions cycle, and over half are roughly the same take on the essay prompt, telling the same story. The key to making an impression is to write an essay that is unique. The worst mistake is to write “what they want” because officers do not “want” anything generic: They want you to use this opportunity to speak directly to them to tell you own story in your own voice. Creativity is welcomed. There is no template for abstract thinking, and there is no “right” college essay format. In all truth admissions officers just want an essay that displays character and creativity, something showing them what an applicant can contribute to their college’s diverse community. Admissions has been adjusting for the modern cultural importance of individuality for years, and 2014 is no exception.

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