Continue reading to find out more about the significance of application essays and how to make a strong impression.
You are aware of the value of having a high GPA, excellent test scores, and extracurricular involvement for your college application. Though what about the essay? How significant is it to your academic record as a whole?
Test results and transcripts are, with a few exceptions, the two main considerations for college admission. Universities are constantly seeking out applicants who can complete the necessary work.
Discover the solutions you require by continuing to read to write a fantastic college essay!
How Important is the College Essay?
Your high school grades give some indication of how well you might do in your college coursework, but they don’t give you the full picture. College essays are essential because the admissions committees at most institutions, especially more prestigious colleges, want to learn more about you than just your academic performance and test results.
Your essay is an opportunity to share what makes you unique—your experiences, personality, perspectives, values, interests, and activities outside of the classroom—because they want to know how you’ll fit into the campus culture.
Do College Essays Matter More Than GPA?
When evaluating applications, admissions officers give the highest priority to grades. Grades and GPA alone, however, do not ensure admission. Your GPA and college essay are typically factors in the evaluation criteria that each school uses to evaluate applications.
Great grades can get you to the “let me think about it” pile, but a dull and uninspired essay can bring your rubric score down. To help the admissions committee narrow the field, a strong essay can help you stand out from other applicants who have comparable academic backgrounds to you.
Every year, thousands of students with comparable GPAs, course requirements, and test scores submit applications to the same colleges. Given the vast number of applicants with comparable academic backgrounds, it can be challenging to stand out.
This is where other aspects of your application, like your college essay, will come into play and could tip the scales in your favor. Even though having a strong GPA is crucial, it won’t always set you apart. Your essay and other soft factors will.
Here is more you need to know about college essays:
- How Important is the College Essay? the Importance of College Essay
- How to Decline a College Acceptance? Step-By-Step Tutorial
- How to Make Your College Essay Stand Out? Strategies
- How to Format a College Application Essay? Rules and Guidelines
- When Should I Start Writing My College Essay?
Factors That Impact the Importance of College Essays
While there is a general breakdown as to how important essays are, their actual influence will vary based on several factors:
School Size and Type
Large public schools frequently receive more applications than do private schools, but they also have fewer resources to evaluate applicants. Prior to looking at extracurricular activities and essays, state schools typically use a candidate’s GPA and test scores to determine who to admit.
If you have particularly strong academics, essays won’t matter as much at these schools. But essays become more significant the more selective the school.
For instance, essays probably count for more at UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan than they do at the Universities of Nebraska or Arizona. Essays are used as a sort of tiebreaker because applicants to more selective schools are frequently more qualified.
The Strength of Your Profile
If you are a “borderline” candidate, with good but less-competitive grades and test scores, a strong essay could push you into the admitted pool. However, because academic performance is the main factor considered when evaluating students, your essay is unlikely to make up for grades and test results that are too far below average.
The essay might not have as much of an impact on your overall application if you otherwise have a strong profile, including a high GPA, impressive test scores, and outstanding extracurricular activities. This is because you have already shown that you have the potential to succeed.
Even if your dream colleges are highly selective, you should still strive to write a strong essay.
Your Intended Major
The significance of the essay is further complicated by taking into account your unique passions, skills, and intended major.
Your essay should demonstrate your skill and chosen major if you plan to major in a humanities subject like journalism, creative writing, or English and list writing-related extracurricular activities on your application (like your school newspaper).
Colleges will be perplexed — and may wonder how well you understand your own strengths — if they learn that your focus is writing and they receive a shoddy or uninspired essay.
On the other hand, admissions committees may give you a little more wiggle room and judge your essay a little less harshly if your focus is clearly on a subject like STEM where writing creatively and personally is less important.
Of course, you still need to submit an essay that is well-written and thoughtful. If you are aware that your writing is somewhat lacking, ask your teachers, guidance counselors, friends, and family to read it and provide feedback. Colleges will, however, typically recognize that your strengths lie elsewhere.
Standardized test scores are either ignored entirely or given little weight in the admissions process when colleges adopt test-optional or test-blind policies. As a result, your application’s other components will be given more weight.
Because of this, bear in mind that your essays will be given even more weight if you plan on applying to schools with test-optional or test-blind policies. On the other hand, your essays might carry a little less weight if you’re applying to a school that requires standardized tests.
How Test-Optional/Test-Blind Changed Admissions?
As you can see, college essays are crucial for applicants who want to be accepted into esteemed institutions. Furthermore, since colleges have fewer data points to work with, the essay probably becomes even more crucial if you intend to apply to any colleges that have test-optional policies or test-blind policies.
In case you’re unaware, test-optional schools are those that don’t request your ACT or SAT test results as part of the application procedure. Additionally, there are schools that go a step further and outright refuse to consider test results when deciding which students to admit.
This approach has been adopted by test-optional and test-blind schools because it enables them to draw a wider variety of students than they would otherwise. The college essay will be one of the most crucial components of your application, so if you’re applying to such schools, keep that in mind.
Conclusion: The Importance of College Essay
In the end, the college essay is still significant because it can be a crucial component of the admissions process.
The college application process includes essays, which are crucial components. You should always give it your best shot, even though some factors may affect the relative importance of essays.
So before you submit that application packet, make sure your essay has all the “write” ingredients to help you stand out.
Should Your College Essay Be About You?
It’s supposed to be about you, which will help admissions officers get a sense of who you are. The only way for this to happen is for you to just be you, and if your essay reads like it was written by a teen about to leave for college, that’s perfect because that’s exactly where you are in life right now.
Is It Okay to Use I in a Personal Essay?
This is a personal statement; using the first-person pronoun “I” is acceptable. Writers often feel rather self-conscious about using the first person excessively, either because they are modest or because they have learned to avoid the first and second person (“you”) in any type of formal writing.
What is Most Important for College Admission?
A student’s grades in college-preparatory classes remain the most significant factor in college admission decisions.