How the College Application Essay Is Like An Advertisement

How the College Application Essay Is Like An Advertisement
We are surrounded by commercials and advertisements. The average teenager sees hundreds of ads per week. Yet, when it comes time to write the college application essay, students can draw on this marketing knowledge to craft an essay that will gain the notice of college admissions officers.
'Advertise' means 'to draw attention to' and that is exactly the point of the college application essay. A successful essay will highlight the student's value as well as leave a lasting impression with the admissions officer.

Think of this essay as 'reading the fine print' or 'checking the label' on a product. On any given day, the admissions officers have stacks of applications to sort through. For the most part, they are identical in many ways. There are GPAs and SAT scores, a 'brag sheet' and even stellar references from professionals.

But in order to make an impression, your application needs to be different as well equal to everyone else's. Sound confusing?

Perhaps you can think of it like this: The way you present yourself in the essay should differentiate you from other applicants while maintaining your academic equality. You are worthy to attend the school because of your academic achievements, but you will make an outstanding addition to the student body based on what you say in the essay.

The best way to 'advertise' yourself is to stick to some tried-and-true principles of marketing:

· Create a positive image of yourself.

· Highlight your value to the school.

· Establish an emotional connection.

To create a positive image of yourself, identify your strengths and special skills. Create an image of yourself using these characteristics in an academic or personal setting. Avoid repeating successes already listed on your transcript or 'brag sheet'.

Remember that you can't create a positive image using negatives. Often, students seek to show how they are not like their peers. This is the wrong way to advertise yourself. Avoid any negative references in your essay.

Just like consumers want to know what a product will do for them, college admissions officers need to know what a student will bring to their college. Are you passionate about helping others, campaigning for social issues, or fundraising for specific causes? Tell about it in the essay, describing certain events or situations.

All good advertisements have an emotional appeal. The college admissions officers are looking for certain values or feelings that will show them you have what it takes to succeed at their school. Reveal your goals or dreams and how that particular college can make them happen.

Let the admissions officer 'feel' your dedication and your excitement about attending this school. Be honest but don't sound ingratiating.

A well written college application essay will give the admissions officer a complete picture of you as a student of today as well as a potential graduate of their school in the future.

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