One aspect of the college application process that most students dread is writing the required essay(s). So many students HATE the essay portion so much that many college admissions teams have eliminated the mandatory essays---whether to save students from angst or to save themselves from reading poor writing is up for discussion! However, most of the competitive colleges still want at least one essay from prospective students.
Why is the essay so important? First, it is a measurement of how well a student can write, or, at least, how much effort he/she is willing to put into this process of writing, revising, editing, and polishing. A student who submits an essay full of errors and incoherent sentences may not get the response from his/her application that he/she desired. Secondly, the essay allows admissions people to see how a prospective student can think critically, evaluate, and respond appropriately in a controlled situation. Next, the essay offers a chance for the writer to “think outside the box;” admissions people can assess applicant’s creativity and ingenuity by his/her responses. Finally, the essay is the only place in the application process where a prospective student can insert his/her “voice” and stand out from the facts and figures in the rest of the application. Through the essays, two well-rounded students with identical GPAs and test scores can stand out as individuals, not merely be seen as clones. The essay is your place to shine and be unique.
NOTE: If a college application states that the essay portion is optional, you SHOULD complete it! You want to use every opportunity to separate yourself from the masses!