We wanted to share some thoughts on the admissions writing process from one of our editors. It serves as an excellent reminder to be yourself and convey 'authenticity' and 'honesty' in your admissions essays and personal statements.
Ivy Eyes Editing
Receiving a letter of acceptance to the college of your dreams seems recently to have become something akin to winning a Nobel Prize. Thousands are worthy, yet of those who receive the golden honor, how many are truly deserving? The desperation of senior high school students at this time of year reaches a fever-pitch, the question buzzing amidst all the fall-chic plaid button-downs, “What do I need to do to get in?”
This Yalie will never forget the moment when, in desperation, a fellow undergrad itching to be accepted to law school benignly quipped, “I mean, I wouldn’t kill a person, but I’d kill an animal [to get in].” My horrified (and vegan) self began then to muse on what it really takes to get noticed by the school of choice, and above all, good lord—to get IN.
Yesterday I had the sublime opportunity to do an admissions info session for Yale at my high school alma mater. Those who were there because their college counselor forced them to be silently composed tweets and status updates; those who were there because they wanted to get into Yale bit their fingernails to a pulp and stared at me, wide-eyed and eager. Two students stayed to speak with me after the rest, both wanting to know my advice as to how they could truly make themselves stand out from the rest of the applicant pool.
The only answer I could possibly give them with any lasting validity and truth was this: “Follow your passion, and learn how to communicate that to the world with meaning.”
The reality is, there is no exact formula for college admissions. There are benchmarks of success, intelligence, and involvement that must be met. And then there is the question of YOU. There are dozens of thousands of applicants, and yet there is only one unique YOU. That YOU must be wild, outstanding, extraordinary, and filled with all the verve and sass of youth that befits a seventeen or eighteen year old in the modern era.
But don’t despair. Think you don’t have time for a passion? This doesn’t have to be about finding a cure for cancer or global warming, and it doesn’t mean you need to sing like the next Mariah Carey and paint like Picasso while simultaneously writing a cookbook to benefit starving Bosnian children. Instead, find out what is meaningful to you, beyond the hype, test scores and community service aside. Ask yourself what has helped you grow most in your life, and don’t doubt the first answer that comes to mind.
In short, the answer is not to become a study-bot test-droid filled with angst and despair over the sorry situation of your life. Don’t kill a person or an animal. Get real. Get a life. Then apply with all your heart.
Ivy Eyes Editing