Selling Yourself to Admissions Committees

This is the time of the year when so-called “rising” seniors start to wonder what their college futures will hold. Most well-prepared rising seniors use the summer before their senior year to square away their thoughts about which colleges they will pursue and what details are involved in doing that. Of course, the Common Application is the starting line for most college applications these days, although there are some (even notable) exceptions.

For you about-to-be seniors (or current seniors, in case you’re reading this after your senior year has started), perhaps one of the most important aspects of the art of college admissions protocol is revealing to the admissions committees who you are and how you think. Probably the best way to do this is through your essays. Of course the Common Application requires you to write a significant essay in response to one of a number of different prompts. You’ll also have to write your answers to some so-called “short responses.”

The Common App supplements required by many colleges, especially the most competitive ones, further tax your ability to present your best personal qualities. There may be an additional essay or two (or three or four!) plus little questions about the more subtle aspects of who you are. The purpose of my advice here is to give you some guidelines to help you reveal qualities about yourself that you may not have thought of before.

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