There are some common mistakes made by college applicants when writing their college admission essays. As a former recruiter for Yale University, I remember the reactions from admissions officers as they read one essay versus another. I would say that there are six mistakes that are the most common and potentially the most deadly to college applicants submitting their college admission essays. One mistake I saw was: talking only about yourself.
If you only discussing yourself versus talking about yourself as part of a team, family, and community. Nobody likes a narcissist, except the narcissist. This is not the only time I will state this because it is so crucial- Admissions Officers look for future leaders. Of course, it is challenging and relative to define what a leader is, but let me share one basic principle of leadership that I think most people would agree with: to be a leader, you need to be part of a community AND to be an effective leader, you need an effective team to work with you. A good leader works for a cause bigger than her/ himself. A good leader may make sacrifices to benefit others and the greater good.
Understanding the value, role, and importance of being part of a team is a lesson that you are never too young or too old to learn. One thing I learned from team sports as a high school student, and also in community groups and business groups as an adult, is that to be part of a winning team, you need to know when to lead and when to follow. Sometimes the official “leader” may not always take the lead, and indeed this may be why s/he remains successful at the top. So how does this knowledge apply to you as a college applicant? Think carefully about your essay topic. You may decide that you want to talk about a group like an athletic team, cast of a play, or church group, etc. and how you worked together, more than just what you did as an individual. I suggest that you write or outline multiple essays and see which one fires you up, so to speak. Remember, passion is key to good storytelling and every Alumni Interviewer and Admissions Officer likes a good story to wake them up after reading through hundreds of lists of achievements- snooze.
Unfortunately, this is not the only mistake made by college applicants when writing their college admission essays or on college applications as they go through the college admission process. To help those who are serious about getting into an Ivy League college or other top college, I outline insider information based on my experience as a recruiter and alumni interviewer for Yale University. My recommendations, tips, and insight are available in The Keys to the CASTLE book. If you want to increase the odds of getting into a top college or your child getting into an Ivy League college, then you need to get your own set of Keys to the CASTLE. Keep in mind: every day that goes by that you don’t access this information, your chance of getting in decreases. High school graduation is right around the corner, don’t you want your child to have big plans for the following fall.