3 years ago
Admissions Advice

How does the spike play out in the application?

Do the essays have to be about the spike, too or is it more a theme the AOs just get?


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1 answer

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Hello! To answer your question, it is more of a theme the AOs should be able to conclude on their own through your classes/activities/awards sections. You can talk about the spike in your essays if that is really what you want to talk about, but remember that sincerity is going to make an essay easier to write and more interesting to read. If one activity within your spike is the number one thing you want to talk about for a certain essay, go for it! However, you should reflect on what you're genuinely excited to write about for each essay; whether or not an essay reflects your spike is not as important as whether the essay topic is truly meaningful to you.

As more general advice, you want to avoid making your essays either (1) an expanded resume or (2) an experience that anybody else in the world could have written about. Instead, try to make it about a single moment that you can reflect on, the more specific the better! This essay is so they can get to know you as a person, and you don't want to make it seem like you ONLY care about your spike, because that's not super realistic. If a prompt asks "what brings you joy?" feel free to talk about "the time you sang bad 2000s songs with your friends in the car after a long day" instead of how "fixing a buggy code is the best feeling in the world" (it is a good feeling, but the first one shows you as a living, breathing person and makes you jump off the page more).

It's great to have a spike, but by no means necessary, and don't feel like you need to build your essays around it. Just aim for strong, sincere, and memorable essays that make you jump off the page independently of the spike. And have fun with it! Hope this helped, good luck with your college applications :)

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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