What I’ve Learned About Essays…

Hey everyone!

This week I want to talk about essays; an integral part of your application. After being a tour guide all summer and listening in on oh so many admissions events, my biggest takeaway has been how important the essays are to the Deans that review your application. Here are some tips and tricks on essay writing that I’ve learned over the many times I’ve applied to schools now supplemented by my work with admissions!

  1. Optional essays are most certainly NOT optional. Especially not at William & Mary. While it is true that you do not have to write anything for “optional” essays and you will still be able to submit your application, they are the PERFECT opportunity to show off your personal voice to admissions. Take these essays as a way to put a much more personal touch onto your file. You can even use these essays to get really creative! Maybe write a poem or a cool short story. Whatever you do…Write. That. Essay.
  2. Write your essays early. The earlier you can have them written, the more times you can take a break and come back to them with fresh eyes. It is so important to be able to take a step back and stop stressing over them before you submit them. I’ve pulled my fair share of late night binge writing and submitting and I can promise you, fresh eyes will only make them better!
  3. Use Spellcheck. This needs no explanation, just do it.
  4. Don’t be afraid to get creative! I know I already touched on this a bit but it deserves its own bullet point. It can be really tempting to copy and paste some generic, easily applicable essay, but application essays are there to serve as the human component to your file. Those prewritten essays that can be plugged into a million different prompts might get the job done, but they can easily fall short of showing us what is so unique about you! The people reviewing your application want to read your submissions and walk away with a sense of who you are.
  5. Prompts are guidelines, not necessarily rules. Certainly, you want to answer whatever question the prompt asked you to, but its more important to write whatever you need to write to show the Deans your passion. Write what YOU want to tell the person reviewing your application, not just what a prompt might ask you to tell them.

That’s all I’ve got for you! I hope this helps even just a little along your application process. I would’ve loved for someone to tell me all of these things before I submitted my essays.

Until next week,
Joey Cronin ’20

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