Deciding which colleges to apply to is difficult enough, but you add to that the stress of writing a personal essay for each of your applications. Your personal essay is supposed to give college admissions teams a snapshot of who you are as a person and who you hope to become but you don’t have to spill your guts or transcribe your whole life story. To increase your chances for getting accepted, first learn just how important your essay is and then take the time to learn the Dos and Don’ts of college application essays.
How Important is Your Application Essay?
Every year, colleges and universities receive hundreds or even thousands of applications. Many of those applications are virtually identical in terms of GPA, class load, and test scores – so how do you make yourself stand out in a crowd? The college application essay is designed to give you a chance to speak directly to the admissions committee, to tell them who you are and why you want to go to their school. But is your application essay more important than the rest of your application or is it just one factor that admissions committees weight evenly with your GPA and test scores?
According to an article published on Time.com, college application essays aren’t as important as they are cracked up to be. In fact, Stanford sociologist Mitchell Stevens worked alongside admissions officers at numerous top-tier liberal arts schools for 18 months and he discovered that in cases where students met
A significant number of community college students choose to take that route because of the affordability. According to data from College Board, in 2011, community college students paid on average $2,713 in tuition and fees, as compared to $7,605 for students who attended an in-state four-year institution. At less than half the cost, community colleges pose significant financial benefits for students who are on a tight budget.Reference: Center on International Education Benchmarking
However, time seems to be the biggest enemy of students who begin their post-secondary education at the community college level. The College Board’s report shows that of the cohort of students who began their community college studies in 2005, only 21 percent graduated within three years – a full year longer than is traditionally required. Many of the financial benefits gained by attending a two-year institution are lost if students aren’t able to complete their degree on time. Yet, students who enroll in a two-year program are the ones who are most likely to be impacted by factors that extend their graduation timeline.
The Student Success Act of 2012
One of the key pieces of legislation Governor Brown recently signed into law was the Student Success Act of 2012 or SB1456. The Press-Telegram reports that this bill focused directly on the state’s community college system, in an effort to improve completion rates and student success at these institutions. The Student Success Act of 2012 includes a number of specific measures community colleges will now have to utilize to help their students succeed in college. Some of the measures include:
- Development of a student education plan to help students plan course schedules accordingly
- Requirement that all incoming students attend an orientation session before taking courses
- Minimum standards for academic success in order to receive fee waivers
- Creation of a student success report card that will be used to determine future funding
- Addition of an all new assessment test that will help place students in the proper classes