There was a cool segment on “NPR” that chronicled what it’s like when applications go to committee at Amherst College. When applications do go to committee at Amherst College, 85% of applications have already been weeded out. It’s important to note that this process varies by university but Amherst’s process is not atypical. In the piece, admissions counselors detail how one line in a college admissions essay can lead to an application being denied. For instance, a dean comes across the line in an otherwise great application: “I rarely get truly fascinated with a subject. And then he goes on – music is his exception.” The admissions dean didn’t know what to do with that line.
Amherst College, like all highly selective colleges, want to admit students who are intellectually curious. This student clearly states that most things don’t engage him intellectually…only music does. Not only does this line say that the student isn’t intellectually curious outside of music but he comes across as arrogant. Is he too smart to be intellectually engaged by anything else? Is that what he’s trying to say? The applicant comes across as entirely unlikable and that led to him getting denied admission.
Every line in college admissions essays matters. One line such as in the aforementioned case can ruin your chances of admission to a highly selective college. University admissions counselors will ignore an otherwise stellar application if they can’t get past one line that bugs them. And that’s one key reason why receiving college admissions counseling from a college admissions consulting firm such as The Ivy Coach can be the difference between getting accepted at the university of your dreams or being denied admission.
Check out the “NPR” piece here (audio and transcript).