From time to time I like to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience of the Campus Bound staff, many of whom are former college admission counselors, and ask them questions that could provide some inside information that could potentially help you. This month I asked, “What was the best college essay you ever read, and what made it stand out to you?” Here are their responses:
Admission Counselor 1: “I’ve probably read 1,000s over the years, but one I still remember from the ‘humor’ category was about the girl who filled orders for the Roche Brothers grocery delivery service. The student was naturally witty and used the essay to express so many positive qualities about herself in addition to a solid sense of humor. She showed empathy, patience, compassion, responsibility, strong work ethic – all packaged (no pun intended) in a way that was compelling and made me want to read more.”
Admission Counselor 2: “I remember one student who wrote about how he learned the meaning of forgiveness from his best friend’s parents. He and his friends were camping in the backyard and wanted electricity for something – the author unplugged something from the basement to free up an outlet only to later learn he had unplugged their basement freezer, right after they had stocked it full of meat for the year…
It was memorable because it was funny, and it was a sincere account of an honest mistake. It was also memorable because the best friend applied to our college as well. In fact, upon meeting both boys at an accepted student day, I think I scared them a bit when I asked them which one was the owner of the freezer and which one unplugged it…”
Admission Counselor 3: “An essay written by the son of a single mother who had a beauty salon in the basement of their house. He wrote about this one Italian woman who came every week, his relationship with her and what he learned about culture, difference and human nature.”
Admission Counselor 4: “ I worked for a health care MBA program so the essays were not very exciting. I remember an essay an applicant wrote about wanting to run a hospital. There was the usual stuff about wanting to help people. He was also really excited by the fact that, because a hospital is opened 24 hours, it is never the same place that he left the day before. While he was gone for the day thousands of things happened during the night. The applicant wrote an entire paragraph on this and it was really entertaining but also gave us a sense of his excitement to take on business challenges.”
Admission Counselor 5: “I vividly recall an essay written by a homeless student in an east coast city. This essay helped me understand the challenges faced by this student who was homeless. She did her homework in an area fast food restaurant where she could stay warm and if the assignment needed information from the internet, she could access it there. She was not the best writer so the essay was not polished; but it put her life in context, was heartfelt and I learned an incredible amount about this student.”
We hope that this “advice from inside” proves helpful when thinking about your essay. Whether you need help brainstorming topics, or editing a final draft, Campus Bound is here to help.