In today’s ultra-competitive admissions process, your personal statement has never been more important. Unlike standardized test scores and GPAs, an admissions essay can truly set your application apart from those submitted by the thousands of applicants you’re competing with. Even near-perfect scores and grades are not enough to earn you admission at the most elite schools and programs today. That’s because the average applicant is significantly more qualified today than he or she was a decade ago. With so many qualified applicants competing for a limited number of spots, admissions committees have turned to other elements of the application to make difficult decisions about who to accept and who to reject.
Your test scores and grades may be good, but so are those of many other applicants. In fact, the average scores at many of the top institutions in the nation are remarkably high. Because of that, plus the fact that some colleges no longer even require standardized test scores, the admissions landscape has changed drastically for college applicants in the past decade. Today, college application essays have become the most influential component of the application process in many ways. Your college admissions essays are your best opportunity to communicate directly with the admissions officials, who look to college essays to find reasons to select one candidate over another. When you’re reviewing files from two candidates with equally impressive scores and grades, and you only have room for one, you have to use something to make your decision. That’s where essays come in.