What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

The Purpose of the College Essay and Why It Matters

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Jordan Sanchez in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.


What’s Covered:


In this post, we discuss the purpose and importance of the college essay. For more information on college essays, check out this post about how to write this year’s Common App essays


Admissions Profiles


There are several aspects to your admissions profile. The first is your academic performance, which is measured by your GPA, class rank, and other academic achievements. The second is your extracurricular activities, which should speak to your passions inside and outside of the classroom. The third is your scores on exams, including the SAT, ACT, AP, IBS, and subject tests. The fourth and final part of your admissions profile is essays, including your personal statement and any supplemental essays.


However, many schools are now adopting test-optional policies, and, for some students, that can mean losing the exam section of their admissions profile. In this case, the essay will hold even more weight. Essays usually make up 25% to 30% of an admissions profile. 


The Common App Essay


The Common App essay is typically the only chance that admissions officers have to hear from you directly, so make the most of this opportunity. Whether an essay is optional or required, you should always complete it to the best of your ability. 


The Common App essay should give the admissions committee a clear sense of who you are. Your writing should showcase your personality and how you would fit in with the culture of the school to which you’re applying. The essay functions to complete the picture that you’ve painted with the rest of your application. It’s a chance to show how you’ve grown throughout your high school experience or how you’ve remained consistent if that’s the case. You can talk about major life experiences or lessons that you’ve learned; many students focus on a specific moment in their lives and how it has affected them.


In your writing, be as specific as possible about yourself and your experiences. Throughout the process, ask yourself this question: could anyone else write this essay? Writing about your specific life experiences is a guaranteed way to make your essay stand out. 


Remember, a strong essay can even make up for weaknesses in other areas of your application.

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At CollegeVine, experts host weekly livestreams on college admissions topics, including application advice, essay writing tips, and college information sessions. To register or check out more livestreams, visit www.collegevine.com/livestreams.