Why are you telling me this now?
Topics for the college common application come out August 1st. Throughout August and September I will give you tips and insight on the college application essay process.
Why should I listen to you?
I don’t know. My wife and children don’t.
Who are you?
Thanks for asking.
- I am a former HS English teacher who worked in high achieving districts on Long Island’s north shore.
- I have a MA in English and a MFA in Creative Writing.
- I am a published writer, an editor, and have written HS curriculum on persuasive writing.
- I ran resume and interview workshops for the NYS Dept of Labor. (Many of the principals apply in terms of making the candidate stand out from the huge field of candidates.
- I have spoken with enough college admissions officers from a variety of schools to know exactly what they are looking for.
ARE YOU ANOTHER COLLEGE “CONSULTANT?”
Nope. I’m not smart enough to know that much. I concentrate on ONLY ONE thing…college application essays…. In this…I am an expert. (Just ask my mother). Did I mention all my former clients either made it to the Ivy League or other prestigious colleges?
FINE. I’ll LISTEN…but only for a minute.
It is important to first understand the purpose of the college application essay. A student’s transcripts as well as his academic and extra-curricular achievements do not give any unique insight into the student as a person. Yes….they will illustrate hard work, intelligence, drive, aptitude, etc. However, these are the same attributes reflected in 28,000 other applications for the same institution. (I know that grandpa says, “No one is as perfect as my granddaughter…she’s going to be a brilliant surgeon, winner of American Idol and Ms. Universe I tell you.”) But in this arena….the obvious is commonplace.
“Yale received 28,870 applications for [Fall 2012]…a 5.8% increase over …
Yale expected to admit approximately 2,100 students…the same total as last year…Yale’s rate of admission for this fall is expected to drop slightly below last year’s 7.7%.
Simply put, essays help the admissions office evaluate your teen’s potential to fit into their school’s community and culture as a person. (Not as a student….not as club president….not as the driving force for raising money with a dance-a-thon or relay-for-life team and not as a swimmer who placed first in his county). Once again…the 28,000 other students….many of whom were driven to get 2400 on their SAT were also club presidents and competitors who gave their time to charity work….if not a kidney.
Just remember, you aren’t the only parent with a bumper sticker that reads, “My child is an Honor Student.”
MORE TO COME…..MUCH MORE…… THANK YOU FOR READING….
Randy Levin has a MA in English and a MFA in Creative Writing. He is a published writer and was a high school English teacher in high achieving north shore Long Island school districts for close to ten years. He works with students on their college application essays through his company: Persuasive Writing Services. The vast majority of his clients are accepted to the Ivy League or other prestigious colleges.