Most of the top 50 schools stress that they take a holistic approach and also say that essays might be the most important part of an application. With the number of applications each college gets, do they read each personal statement in reality? How important are your college essays?

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    Kriti Chawla
  • kritich4@gmail.com

Kriti Chawla Answered 6 months ago

Yes, it’s very true the schools in the USA take a holistic approach. In my opinion, they do have a look at each personal statement in reality. It may be a quick glance or a skim through. I believe college essays are as important as other application materials maybe not more.

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What is the recommended format an applicant should use for a college application essay?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 7 months ago

Before you begin writing our college application essay, look make sure you look carefully at how you will submit the essay – whether it will be uploaded or pasted into a textbox. This can determine your formatting. You should keep in mind the word count as you write. Your main common application essay should be no more than 650 words, and no fewer than 250. You should aim towards 650 words unless you can make your point in fewer words. Most students begin composing in a Microsoft Word document, and then copy and paste the text into the application, as....View More

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How do I know if my essay is good?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 7 months ago

It’s a good idea once you have brainstormed and written your essay to let a teacher or your college counselor, if you have one, read it. Beware having your parent read it however, as they are often out of touch in terms of what US colleges want for an admissions essay. This is not like applying to college in India or the UK, nor is it like applying to college in the US 17 years ago. Adcoms are looking for essays that are unique and tell something about you that only you could tell. Sometime this is a personal essay....View More

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How should I come up with ideas for the common app prompts when I don't have a sense of who I am? I know i don't need "an amazing event" but even if I pick a commonplace event, I find it hard to write about because I don't know how to relate to me on a larger scale, because I don't exactly know who I am. I can't describe myself; I don't know what's exactly meaningful to me. I've been trying to self-reflect but I just can't remember very much at all from earlier years that really shaped me.

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    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 6 months ago

Everyone has a story to tell.  I'm glad you know that you don't need "an amazing event" to write about; those become too commonplace anyway.  Maybe you have your essay topic right here in what you wrote: having opportunities in university to truly discover who you are.  One essay I read years ago was on such a simple topic, getting glasses.  However, the way it was written was simply beautiful and the student beautifully correlated her check-ins with the doctor and getting a stronger prescription with how it simultaneously happened with a life event.  It had a strong ending of....View More

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What is the best time to start preparing for SAT/ACT and essays?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 7 months ago

We usually suggest that SAT/ACT prep begin at the beginning of the junior year. There are tests available to determine whether the SAT or ACT is the best test for you, and if one is clearly preferred, then you will not have to split your time between the two tests. You can maximize your results by first determining which test is best for you, and then concentrating on that one test. Test scores generally get stronger the older you get, and so there is no reason to begin to test too early. Consider taking your first test in the spring....View More

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Is it okay if I only get my essays reviewed and not take additional help from a counsellor for other application materials? The course I want to do requires me to make a portfolio, which is already being handled. So I have to prepare all the documents required for admission, except a portfolio.

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 5 months ago

Speaking as a college counselor, I like to think there is value to having a counselor or someone with an understanding of the admissions process review all parts of an application! But if this is not possible, yes, of course, you can do a good job yourself. In fact, most students do not get outside help. If you only get help on your essays, please make sure that you do a complete job of your Activity Grid, showing the depth of your involvement and your leadership in all activities.  Make sure also that you pay as much attention to your....View More

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What should be the length of a SOP for Canadian and HK Universities? If possible could someone enlist the aspects that an Undergraduate SOP must cover?

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    Geetha Swamy
  • geetha.swamy53@gmail.com

Geetha Swamy Answered 5 months ago

In general, an SOP must not be over 600 - 800 words. Remember that admissions officers have to read thousands of these so the shorter and more to the point your SOP is, the better. You should focus on your interest in the area you are applying to at university, talk about what you have done in the past that led you to develop your interest in this area, what are the courses you are taking now and what you are learning that is helping you make sure that you have chosen the correct course for your future. What do....View More

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Can you please clear out the differences between Personal Statement, Statement of purpose, Common App Essay, Supplemental essay, and the essay that colleges require which are of three types - (Why us?, Describe yourself, describe an issue)? I'm getting confused between all these types. Any help would be appreciated.

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    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 2 months ago

The essays you mention all have the same purpose: the school gets to know who you are beyond grades, classes, and test scores.  Essentially, the essays answer "who are you?"  Some schools have no essays, some have one, some have 2, while others have more.  All you need to do is start your applications and then just answer the questions...it's that easy.  When you're doing the applications, you just answer the essay prompts (questions), and answer them well.  Dig deep and reflect upon who you are since that's really the purpose of the essay, regardless of its title.

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How good/bad is USIEF for counseling?

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    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 4 months ago

USIEF is an unbiased organization that can be quite good for counseling. The great thing about USIEF is that they're unbiased and don't have any kind of payback scheme with US colleges/universities. They are trusted by US colleges/universities as well. Each USIEF office runs a bit differently so how they work with you can vary depending on which office you're working with; admittedly, some are better than others. I always recommend students work with them as they will give you advice based on what your needs, wants, and abilities are rather than push you to a school that gives a....View More

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