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by California Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane, in memory of their son Leland Jr.It’s a private institution located in the gorgeous heart of the California Bay Area.My colleagues have previously written blog posts encouraging students to draft essays in their everyday voice, and to avoid replacing normal words with cousins from the thesaurus.
Admission officers do notice, however, the clarity of your thought and the effectiveness with which you convey your ideas.
If your message was well-said in 250 words but the maximum was 300, so you added 50 words of fluff, those 50 words are diluting the strength of your message.
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Many students trip over common obstacles in their college application essays.
For example, many students can’t see beyond the superficial prompt to construct an essay that positively communicates their personality and passion.Similarly, if you wrote a 500-word piece you’re proud of but the maximum is 300, please don’t go line-by-line to delete extra words; instead, reconsider the scope of your essay, because you may have selected a larger topic than can be thoughtfully addressed within the word count.For those of you still concerned about the literal word count: The most common “personal statement” length is in the ballpark of 500 words.Becky Leichtling is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts.Becky is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Education; prior to joining College Coach, Becky was a senior admissions officer at Tufts University.Writing simply about the fact that the challenge exists is also less interesting than if you wrote something referencing momentum in terms of future change, or possibly even past decline.For example, in addressing a topic like pollution, you could talk about how your view is that you believe the greatest challenge will be spreading actionable awareness of the issue to overcome our current apathy, maybe with a brief suggestion on how that could be attained.Some students rehash their activities and achievements without adding the personal flavor, perspective and substance that admissions officers look for. As an independent college admissions consultant, I read many application essays and see many common application essay mistakes.As a former college admissions officer who read over 3,000 essays every admissions cycle, I can’t stress enough that students should consider quality over quantity when drafting college essays.Writing about how you spent your last two summers should be pretty direct — anything you have been involved in is fair game, and showing a variety of interests is again advisable.For example, you could write out a list of the disparate activities like: I prepared for and competed in Skills USA’s National Skills and Leadership Conference, vacationed in California to visit my family, volunteered at my local food bank, started working at TJ Maxx, hiked with friends, went on family camping trips, tried new cupcake recipes, and helped run a STEM camp for girls.