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  • Bentham Admissions Team

Do College Application Essays Matter?

We live and die by our stories. They are what allows us to differentiate ourselves, our products, and our companies. The ability to compose and deliver a compelling and persuasive narrative, therefore, is key to your lifetime success, in college application essays, job applications, work presentations, and beyond.

The need for an insightful, well thought out, and persuasive application essay has never been more critical, as the college admissions process becomes increasingly competitive with mean test scores at an all-time high.

Here, we’ll discuss how you can craft the best story possible for your essay and more importantly why you should care.

Who Reads College Admissions Essays?

The vast majority of college essays will be read and judged by an admissions team composed of a diverse group of people, many of whom have backgrounds in the humanities.

However, there are some exceptions to this, for example, Columbia School of Engineering, where application essays are read by professors with expertise on the qualifications and skills needed to thrive within the context of their field.

Admissions Officers Are Only Human

While each admissions officer brings a different perspective to the table, they all have one thing in common. They are human, and humans need to be captivated to pay attention.

Admissions officers in general read thousands upon thousands of essays each year. Quite literally, they are fully submerged in them, from October through March, as the admissions process unfolds.

Beyond checking for spelling and grammatical errors, assessing prose, and identifying compelling stories, admissions officers look for diverse candidates with exciting stories to tell.

Imagine someone, just like yourself, who is going to sit or lay down, in the morning at a coffee table or at night before bed, and read your essay.

Make sure your essay stands out above the others. Once it does, make sure you also specifically highlight how you, specifically you, are a perfect fit for the school and its culture.

In an era of hyper-competitiveness, it’s important to be direct in your goals and your desires. It’s no longer appropriate to casually apply to several programs and hope that one accepts you.

That is the quickest way to ensure that no one does.

Why Are College Application Essays Important?

Now that you know who’s reading them, you need to take a long hard look at why college application essays are so important.

Even though you’ve studied for months (maybe years) to obtain your highest possible score on the ACT or SAT and more time than you care to admit honing your extracurriculars, your work is far from done.

As we’ve highlighted above, the application cycle is far more competitive than in previous decades.

The days of elite universities choosing students solely based on their test scores and GPA are long gone. Moreover, as the old saying goes, students—not test scores—attend college.

Students can come from anywhere and often have immensely different experiences and backgrounds. College admissions officers and universities now use the admissions essays to differentiate similarly competitive students.

This is the single best opportunity for an admissions officer to get to know you beyond your test scores, your GPA, and what other people have written on your behalf.

Who are you? And more specifically: Who are you from your perspective?

Review Errors and Sloppy Grammar

Despite the increasing importance of the essay, college applicants still submit essays riddled with errors to elite universities. These errors can range from too many clichés to sloppy grammar, or misspellings.

That said, in addition to an exceptional narrative, it’s important that you focus on strong writing skills.

Your college application essay is your final testament to what you have achieved, overcome, endured, and realized throughout your high school career.

At Bentham, we will ensure that you select and execute a prompt that will garner the right attention and move your essay and application into the correct pile.

How Covid-19 Changed Application Process

Over the course of the pandemic, universities and admissions counselors across the country have been forced to adapt, just as students have had to do.

For many current high school seniors applying to college, nearly 35% of their formal high school education may have been shifted to online.

College visits, overnight school visits, interviews, and informational sessions are now being conducted via Zoom or Skype.

working on tablet while wearing mask due to Covid-19

Our Team At Bentham and Pandemic Solutions

The uncertainty of the pandemic offers challenges now and well into the future. As the education and admissions process evolves, so does Bentham.

We are a team of dedicated consultants with degrees from top Ivy League universities. Our unique backgrounds, education, and work history allow us to successfully advise students on their college admissions journey by providing first-hand experience and unrivaled insight.

With services ranging from ACT and SAT tutoring to holistic admissions guidance, Bentham is the logical choice for your application.



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