Colleges and universities ask students to write a short essay or two as part of the application for admission process. The essay is important in that it provides an opportunity for a student to tell the institution things about the student that are not evident from his high school transcript, standardized test scores or other questions he answers on the application for admission. Additionally, it can set the student apart from others by showing skills and personality traits that the student has in addition to academic skills and experiences outlined on his application.
A well-written essay can demonstrate student writing skills, creativity, values, unique experiences, sense of humor, future plans, tenacity, empathy and other character traits attractive to colleges and universities. Every prospective college student has a unique combination of traits that make them special. But if colleges do not see those traits, the student's application is just one of thousands from which they must choose just over a thousand or a few thousand.
Success in the college application sweepstakes is gained by students who have what colleges seek. When visiting colleges or their websites, think about what they project. They usually project their ideal student. Compare the vision they project of their students to your student. How is he similar? How is he different? Being different can be a plus. Attending admission preview programs helps students and parents understand what type of students a college seeks to admit.