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What the People Who Read Your College Application Really Think

September 18, 2018
International Student IEC@OCC

Are you applying to college? You will probably have to complete a college application, which typically includes a personal statement. This is a large part of your application! Someone in the admissions office will read your letter and use it to learn a little more about you; the information you put in your personal statement might be what gets you accepted into college.

National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed college admissions officers to see what they really think while they are reading college applications. Here are some of the main points from this article: you can read the article by clicking on this link.

What the People Who Read Your College Application Really Think

Question #1: Is this potential student engaged in this campus and their studies?

A potential student should the campus, speak with admissions staff, or at least do research about the institution. If so, this should be a part of the personal statement. It shows that the student is interested in the campus and has invested time and effort into learning about this school.

How to show this: Be sure to mention if you’ve visited the school or spoken with someone who works for the school. State why this helped you make a decision to apply to this university.

International Student IEC@OCC

Question #2: Has this person invested real time into their essay?

By this point, you have written many essays: you know that there is a BIG difference between the quality of your first draft and your final draft. Make sure that your personal statement is the final draft of this paper and has undergone many edits and revisions.

How to show this: Ask yourself these questions about your personal statement/essay to decide if you’ve really invested time into it:

  • Have you put real time and thought into this essay?
  • Does the essay fully answer the prompt?
  • Is the essay well written?
  • Did you expand on your reasons and opinions (and provide examples)?
  • Does the essay use unique language?
  • Does the essay use complex sentences?
  • Does the essay flow well from paragraph to paragraph?
  • Does the essay have a catchy introduction and strong conclusion?
  • Is the essay error free? Did you have friends or a teacher proofread it for you?
  • Does the essay say everything you wanted to say?
  • Are you proud of the essay?


Question #3: Does this student have real goals?

Why are you attending university? Make this clear in your personal essay; this will allow you to explain your real goals in academia and life.

How to show this: State your academic and career goals. Don’t be afraid to share your dreams and your vision for your future! Be fearless.

Question #4: Has this student identified how our university will help them achieve their goals?

Why do you want to attend university at this specific school? How will this specific university’s programs or services help you to reach your goals? How would attending this university change your life in ways that other universities wouldn’t? Think about each of these questions while writing your essay and be sure that your essay includes these answers for the admissions person.

How to show this: Clearly state how this university will help you to achieve these goals and why this university is the best option for you.