The cynical among you would probably respond that I love the college essay because I don’t have to write one myself—I already went to college (for, like, a million years).
I’ll admit, I’m sure my appreciation for the college essay is boosted by the fact that I don’t face the same stress that my clients do.
Still, consider this:
The experience of writing the college essay has intrinsic value.
Much of the college application process consists of jumping through hoops created by the college-industrial complex to make admissions decisions easier (“Only students with X,Y,Z numbers will be considered”). Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are major offenders in this regard.
Putting aside the (highly) questionable utility of standardized tests for gauging students’ academic “aptitude” or “achievement” or whatever, the act of studying for these tests has little personal value outside of the getting-into-college game. You might get better at taking these tests, but that’s about it.
Not so with the college essay, I would argue.
Fruits of the essay writing experience
#1: You grow as a writer
Because the admissions essay is so important, it forces you to put real time and effort into the revision process. You’ll probably do more revision work that you’ve ever done before.
Revision is how you grow as a writer.
#2: You grow as a person
The admissions essay is personal. Through the process, you engage in meaningful self-reflection and self-exploration. You consider what you’ve been through, what you value, and what you want.
It’s not often that we are forced to do this kind of personal excavation. It may be hard work at times, but it’s worth it, and it can actually be fun if approached in the right way.
The admissions essay vs. academic writing
Another reason I love the admissions essay is that it’s not nearly as dry and laborious as academic writing tends to be—to write or read. (If there is any topic you can trust me to know about, besides the college essay, it’s academic writing—I’ve done quite a lot of it.)
For example, the college essay can be funny! (I love essays that have moments of humor, and admissions officers very often agree with me.) Also, it doesn’t require you to research, cite sources, assemble a bibliography, etc.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the admissions essay and how I can help you.