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How to Write an Admission Essay: Understanding Your Audience

An admissions essay is unlike any other type of essay that a student has written. In this type of essay, the student is no longer writing for a teacher or classmate. Admission essays are designed for the admissions department to read. Due to this, students have to take into consideration the different and unique demands of the admissions department.

Reading Essays Take Time

The entire purpose of the admissions office is to read through applications, send out acceptance letters and enroll students in college. During college application season, the individuals in the admissions office may spend hours every day reading admissions essays. Since most colleges ask every student the same one or two answers, this means that each admissions officer has read the same essential essay hundreds and thousands of time. They are bored with the same essays and want something that will be memorable. Intelligent students recognize this and create an essay that has an interesting twist or a fresh perspective. Students have to create an essay that wakes the admissions officer up and gets them to take notice of the application.

Be Prepared for Skimming

When someone goes to the bookstore, they never read the entire book to see if they should buy it. Instead, they look at the back cover, scan a few pages and make their decision. The admissions officer may do the same thing to admissions essays. After reading so many on a daily basis, they can often scan an essay in seconds to see if it is actually worth reading closely. Any spelling errors or grammar issues that pop out in the first few moments will most likely convince the officer to waste their time. To make the document easier to scan, students should use a clear structure. The essay should include an introduction, body and conclusion.

The Audience Does Not Know You

Unlike high school friends, neighbors and family, the admissions department knows nothing about the students that apply. The only thing they know is what is on the application and in the admissions essay. Due to this, students have to assume that the audience knows nothing about them or what they like. Acronyms and highly technical terms should be avoided because the admissions officer may not be familiar with the terms.

Admissions Officers Are People, Too

In the drive to get the best grades and test scores, many students are intimidated by the process of applying for college. It may seem like admissions officers are scary people who are just waiting to reject an application. In reality, this is completely the opposite of the truth. Admissions officers generally work at colleges because they like young people and want to help them succeed. Students can expect the audience for their essay to be supportive and willing to listen. If the essay is well-formatted and uniquely written, it will be received by an open mind.