What are your chances of acceptance?
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's the real deal with college essays' influence on admissions?

I've heard different takes from everyone – my counselor says essays can make or break your application, while my brother says they're just a formality. How important are college essays actually when it comes to getting into schools, especially the more competitive ones?

8 months ago

I'll be forthright: your counselor is correct that essays can significantly impact your application, especially for competitive institutions. Essays offer admissions officers a glimpse into who you are beyond grades and test scores. They're looking for signs of maturity, intellectual curiosity, and your potential contribution to the campus community. For highly selective colleges, where many applicants have similar academic credentials, a compelling essay can be a deciding factor. Take the Common App essay, for instance; it's your chance to tell a story only you can tell, to stand out by conveying your unique perspective or experiences. Be authentic and honest in your essays – it's not about writing what you think they want to hear but sharing your genuine voice. Invest time in crafting your essays: brainstorm, draft, get feedback, and revise. Don't underestimate their power in the admissions process.

8 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.