I saw this story from the San Francisco Chronicle about a new business that allows prospective students to purchase an admission essay from a student who gained admission to a selective school last year. The business model is kind of genius, making money off your old admission essay is a slick idea. However, I side with the admission reps in the article who think it is a bad idea. My biggest issue is that the admission essay is really your soap box, it is your opportunity to talk about yourself, why you’re the ideal candidate and convince us why we should look no further than you for our next all star student. If you use someone else’s essay, you’re likely to pay for it later with a denial letter. I get that writing an admission essay is scary and it would be much easier to use a template from someone who was successful in the past. If you want advice from anyone, you should really ask for the advice of the people who are going to read it and judge you based of it. Most schools list on their website exactly what they want you to discuss within the essay. Because each school wants different information, you’re better served contacting the school than paying $50 for an old essay. For example, we changed our essay questions this year. Now we ask:
What is your career goal upon completing your graduate degree and what are your longer-term career goals?
Explain why you have chosen to pursue a graduate degree and how the degree program you have chosen will prepare you to reach your specific career goals.
What skills and previous experiences have helped position you to reach your career goals and how will the Josef Korbel School help you achieve these goals?
My advice? Write openly and honestly about yourself, answer the questions we are asking you, and please do not use this quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Trust me, it’s overused.
Director of Admission