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Many college hopefuls are afraid of application essays. They see them as another obstacle on the way to the school of their dreams. Instead, they should see it as an opportunity to show their real self, to be memorable, to be more than just scores and numbers.

Grades, tests, courses, and extracurricular activities will always be important – I am not suggesting that the essay alone will make or break your admission. However, its importance grows together with the selectivity of a college you’ve targeted. If everyone who applies submits excellent scores, how do you decided who goes in and who gets the we-regret-to-inform-you letter?

How can you make your essay not too boastful but not too shy? How do you sell yourself without sliding into pompous self-promotion? This dilemma seems too complicated for many young people, so they choose to get professional admission essay writing help instead of striving to balance all this on their own. However, the important thing is to know the rules. You can try to win the system or you can try to break it, but first, you must know it inside out.

Often young people think that there will be one writing assignment – THE essay. Instead, however, a college may want you to write 3 to 5 different essays. Usually, this bunch follows more or less the same pattern.

The personal statement

Who you are, in a nutshell. Background, identity, accomplishments, what you value and why. Here you can address your experiences as an international student, a multilingual person, someone of a non-traditional age for a college newbie, a member of a minority group, an athlete, or write about your special skills, beliefs, hardships and experiences that shaped your personality and influenced your worldview.

The significant activity

This one is not about an extracurricular you’ve received the highest number of accolades for. This one should be about something significant in motivating you, making you grow and develop. Make it about something that relates to a personal aspect of your life or something you are truly passionate about.

Your academic interests

The key with this one is to go beyond the obvious. “I always loved math” or “I am interested in history” isn’t going to make it for you. Why it matters to you? What specifically fascinates you? Add some context – how and when did you decide that this is the field that interests you the most? Show how you acted on your interest, how it motivated you.

Your reaction to an honor code

This one can be given to you in the form of a creative task but it always aims to elicit your values and your code of conduct. Themes might be as various as “A letter to my future roommate”, “Tell us about a person who influenced you the most”, or “If I were a President for a day”.

“Personal space” essay

Something humorous and quirky, where you can be 100% yourself. Topics may include “Design your own rejection letter”, “Number 215 page of your 300-page autobiography”, etc. Do not underestimate this opportunity to make an unforgettable impression.

One student wrote a creative ironic reply to the standard MIT email. Although he never attended MIT, his reply is circulating the web for more than two decades now as an example of witty nonchalance that wins hearts. By the way, he is a self-taught programmer and a consultant for software and pharmaceutical companies with a BS in Chemistry from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from UC San Diego, so his story did had a happy ending.

“Why this college” essay

This one must be creative, but also involves a great deal of preparation and research. Best way to prepare for this one is to take a campus tour, meet college representatives, or at least do some thorough research online.

In this essay, they want you to show why you and their college is a perfect match. There is no room for error. You must demonstrate that this college is on top of your list (even if it’s not). You must highlight the classes they offer are just what you wish to study; point out that the extracurricular activities they offer are just ones you are dying to join. You may recycle one essay for different colleges, but make sure you do all necessary tweaks to your template so everything fits.

Usually, the vetting process is shrouded in mystery. The more selective is the college, the less information is available on how the decision is ultimately made. However, one thing is certain – under no circumstances should you make a slapdash work on your admission essay. Even if you are certain that your sky-high scores, impressive accomplishments, and an immaculate record is enough to land you admission, a hastily written essay can seriously hurt your