The Admission Essay – also known as the Application Essay – is one of the most important papers you will have to write in your life. It can make or break your college or university application. The purpose of this essay is to show the admissions committee why you are a good fit for their school. Applications officers want to know who you are, hear your voice, and learn why you chose that specific major.
Most universities and colleges in the United States require you to write a Common Application essay and a small, university-specific essay – often referred to as a “Writing Supplement.” The Common Application paper is where you can be yourself – you are free to express your ideas and tell something interesting about your past, background or interests.
The Common Application paper should:
The university-specific essay is shorter than the Common Application paper; you are usually asked to write around 100-250 words (Stanford University). Some colleges and universities ask for a bit more: 250-400 words (Dartmouth College). However, there are schools – such as the University of Pennsylvania – that require a rather comprehensive essay of 400-650 words.
Most colleges and universities provide a list of prompts for the Writing Supplement. You must choose one of the prompts and write a paper on it. Most schools focus on learning more about you (Stanford), although there may be some schools that require you to write a paper on something related to their curriculum.