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So what exactly is the best way to sell oneself to Harvard in a thousand words or fewer?Reporters and editors across Quartz’s newsroom have come together to offer some foolproof advice.
An essay that stands out is simply more memorable,” says Quartz growth editor Jean-Luc Bouchard.
“I wrote a series of thematically linked poems for my admissions essay, and even though the poems were probably pretty bad, I think I got points just for trying something different.”You may recall the news this spring about Ziad Ahmed, a student who got into Stanford by writing “#Black Lives Matter” a hundred times on one of his essay prompts.
Oftentimes, the most powerful essay topic is one that lets some of your imperfections seep through.
You can start by thinking of a time that you struggled, made a mistake, or were embarrassed.
Parents and teachers will often tell students who are just starting out on their essays to “write sincerely,” “write about your feelings,” “write about what matters to you.” That advice, while well-intentioned, is not helpful. Instead of starting from such a broad place, begin with the narrow strategy of researching the worst college-essay clichés; that way, even if you don’t have the faintest idea what to write about, you at least know what you have to avoid.
Examples of hackneyed essay characteristics that immediately make admissions officers roll their eyes include: Now, what to write about?
Your audience, be it a teacher, an administrator, or an admissions committee, has likely read hundreds if not thousands of student’s admissions essays.
This means that you are going to have to do more than throw in a few SAT words to impress them.
Universities in the US and across the world are increasingly looking away from test scores and grade point averages and toward one particularly unique component of students’ applications: the essay.
If done exceptionally well, it’s a catapult to an acceptance offer.