200 Words Essay

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Take advantage of every opportunity the Common App gives you.

______________________________________________ Blogging about admissions means that I should probably write something about The Essay.

Maybe it'll be an explanation of why you learned to kickbox, or why knitting caps for preemies is so important to you.

I know it's a short block of text, but that doesn't mean you should shortchange it.

And I absolutely love it when I flip from your personal essay to your Extracurricular Activity essay, and continue to be blown away.

But all too often, I get to this short essay--all 200 words of it--and I am left wanting more.Intention is important to me as a reader, and nothing clues me in to that as much as your short answer.It's easy to write it off, so I'm that much more impressed when you take the time to craft a really compelling answer.It's one of the few parts of the Common Application that is entirely yours to construct and build, sort of the final frontier of your application.By the time you sit down to fill out the Common App, your classes have already been taken, your SATs or ACTs scored, and your teachers already know you. Admissions officers across the US will tell you that the personal essay is your chance to tell us who you are, what you stand for, and what is most important to you.Each piece of your application has value, so spend time thinking about what it is that you are showing us.Your Common App essay and your Oberlin supplemental essay are certainly the places to think deeply about how you are presenting yourself, but I encourage you to reflect on whom among your teachers you want to write for you. Cats have soft pads under their feet; so they can walk without making any sound. Small children are fond of pet cats, and they like to pat it. Ideally, the short answer will illuminate something that pops up on your list of extracurriculars.Or maybe you'll use it to highlight an independent project you're undertaking, something that doesn't really fit into any of the boxes the Common App offers you.


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