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I get questions all the time. Here’s a popular one I receive from parents…

Q: What makes one essay better than another?

A: Great question! Complicated answer. Creating a college essay is a creative endeavor – not unlike painting a portrait or making a movie. What makes one better depends on who is reading it. There are some things that MUST be accomplished for an essay to be memorable or impactful to an applicant.

1. The subject matter must exists nowhere else on the application. Meaning the reader must be learning something new about the author.

2. The story should be original, in that it should be something that could really only happy to the applicant writing the essay.

3. It must be a fun read, or at least interesting enough the hold the readers attention.

4. The takeaway from the essay should be something that tells the reader what kind of student that applicant will be on campus.

5. There should (not it’s not mandatory) be some sort of hook. Something the admissions officer can latch onto. I had an applicant last year write about being an amateur beekeeper. It was a fun, original essay, which told us a lot about the applicant. I have no doubt that when her reader was advocating for her to the committee, she was “the beekeeper.”

If an applicant can accomplish these five things, it’s a safe bet they’ll have an essay that will make a difference.