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" essays, make sure you mention specific things about the college in question that you could benefit from, and that other colleges don't offer.If there are no such things, why are you applying to the college at all?
With a 2000 SAT score and a 3.7 GPA, it will be hard to get in at any of the places you list (top Ivy Leagues, Stanford, and MIT). There's a lot of luck involved in getting into top colleges, especially if you're a borderline case - a person whose stats, awards, and extracurriculars are very good, but not exceptional.
Any Ivy League university could fill their entire class with people like this, many times over.
According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, application essays are the most important “soft” factors, or non-quantitative elements, that colleges consider when making admission decisions, right behind “hard” factors, or quantitative components, like grades, curriculum, and test scores.
The personal statement and other essays and short answer questions, in conjunction with recommendations, extracurricular activities, and other qualitative application elements, can provide admissions committees with context and details about students that can’t be found anywhere else in the application.
When writing about a meaningful experience or event, you don’t have to give a long timeline of events.
Instead, give the reader the piece of the puzzle that conveys your message. With upwards of 25 or more essays to write for a balanced college list of 10-12 schools, it’s tempting for students to repurpose essays across applications if the prompts are similar.
Find something else that reveals something new and that shows you put a lot of thought into your essay. When developing a topic that reveals something new, find a way to frame the story or idea that shows a slice of your life or the event.
If your study of AP biology conflicts with your religious views, write about that and how you reconciled the two. Be descriptive and give details that appeal to the senses – taste, touch, smell, etc.
While students can use the same main essay on the Common App for multiple schools, we always recommend that students tailor their supplemental essays to the individual colleges.
Telling Harvard why you want to attend Columbia is a quick way to end up in the “no” pile.