In fact, your essay could end up hurting an application for an otherwise strong candidate if it appears hastily written or not well thought-out.
Factoring in your particular interests, talents, and intended major makes the importance of the essay even more nuanced.
On the other hand, if your focus is clearly on a subject in which writing personally and creatively is not as essential, such as the life sciences or math, and your intended major follows the same suit, admissions committees may provide a little more leeway and judge your essay less harshly.
You still need to present a well-written and carefully considered essay, of course.
” asked by Wake Forest University, or “Tell us about spiders,” at the University of Richmond.“These questions are aimed at trying to get students to reveal something about themselves that’s not obvious from all the other information they’ve provided, and to show their intellectual vitality,” she said.
Cohen said another mistake students make is to spend months refining their long essay, and then leave a week to throw together their answers to the supplemental questions, which often ask for very short answers.“Write about specific courses you may be interested in taking, about professors, about research opportunities, about the community,” Cohen said, warning against the general “the campus is beautiful, and I love the academic rigor” type of generalities that could be cut and pasted into any application.
Starting particularly early, coming up with a thoughtful idea, writing several drafts, self-editing, and soliciting feedback may help you create an essay that will give you that extra edge as an applicant. Perhaps you have a particular talent, skill, or life experience that will set you apart from other applicants.
Whatever that attribute may be, writing about it in an eloquent and inspiring way may be enough to sway admissions committees’ minds on candidates who might otherwise be denied admission to a particular school.
The answer is that it depends on a number of factors.
The essay is always important, but just how much it will influence your overall application varies by the school to which you are applying, as well as your individual profile. Check out our blog post How to Write the Common Application Essays 2017-2018.