Preparing to write college admissions essays? Check out these tips from Taylor Studniski.
For many students, the right college admissions essays may decide whether they get into their dream school or their backup schools instead. Taylor Studniski, who has gone through the college admissions process and gotten into her dream schools, shares some tips for writing college essays.
“Before even thinking about the college essays, it’s smart to think about the types of things these essays highlight, such as volunteer service, being a great member of a community, and intellectual curiosity,” Taylor Studniski notes. “This is especially true if you’re just starting high school. The right choices now might get you into your dream school.”
These days, intellectual acumen is no longer enough to get into a top university. The best schools often have a large pool of intellectually bright, if not brilliant, applicants. If you want to get into a top school, high grades and great test scores might not be enough.
“You obviously can’t ignore grades and standardized test scores,” Taylor Studniski says. “But it’s best to think of them as necessary preconditions but insufficient to guarantee acceptance into a top university.”
Many universities are also looking for people who will be good community members. This includes both within the university itself and the larger community outside of the school.
Volunteer work, and especially unique volunteer experiences that go beyond checking off boxes, can help show that you’re a good community member and want to make a difference. For these community experiences to really matter, however, they need to impact your thinking and worldview.
“I’ve learned a lot by volunteering,” Taylor Studniski says. “Not only did I get to make a difference in the lives of others, but the experience helped me grow as a person. And when writing college admissions essays, I made sure to relate that growth.”
Taylor Studniski Talks About Balancing Humility and Confidence
As for writing college essays specifically, it’s often best to walk a fine line between confidence and humility. It’s often best to focus on yourself, not other people. And you want to imbue that you’re confident in your skills.
Yet you also want to impart the message that you don’t know everything, and that you’re very open to learning. If you’re studying at a top university, your professors will be among the best and brightest in their field. Understanding that you can learn a lot from them can go a long way in establishing yourself as a top candidate.
“Confidence is important. If you’re not confident, you may struggle if you run into road blocks, perhaps a college course that’s more difficult than you anticipated,” Taylor Studniski points out. “At the same time, understanding your limitations and how much you can learn helps show that you have a lot of willingness to grow.”