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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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UCLA
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
200
800
| 800 verbal
200
800

Extracurriculars

Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What differentiates great college essays from the average?

Hello! As someone who's decent at writing, I'm trying to figure out how to elevate my college essays. I want to understand what qualities distinguish the essays that get praised by admissions from the ones that just get a nod. Any insights?

7 months ago

Think of great college essays as the ones with a heartbeat. They pulsate with personality, uniqueness, and are deeply reflective. They go beyond superficial narratives and dive into complexities that define you as an individual. The difference lies in the depth. An average essay might recount an event, but a standout essay reflects on the event's emotional resonance and its transformative impact on the student.

Moreover, the best essays often focus on small, seemingly insignificant moments that reveal larger truths about the applicant. These essays don't just tell, they show, with detailed descriptions, vivid imagery, and a self-aware tone. They avoid cliches and take risks, whether in structure, topic, or voice, to leave a memorable impression. It's essential to revise and get feedback from others who know you well and can tell if your voice is authentic. In essence, the essays that get praised by admissions resonate because they mirror a piece of the applicant's soul and are tailored in a way that no other applicant could replicate.

7 months ago

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CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.