3 months ago
Admissions Advice

How much weight should do you guys put into CollegeVine's peer reviews?

I've been putting my essay up on the peer review system, and I'm just not sure if I should be listening to any of the feedback. On one review, someone tells me that my topic is 'Solid' and one another 'Weak'. Do you guys actively change your essay based on the peer reviews, or just consider the feedback?

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3 months ago[edited]

There are 3 types of essay reviewers.

1.) 10% are those that are doing it get a top 5-star rating so they have bragging rights on the Top Reviewers List. These reviewers take the approach of writing the kind of feedback that only focuses on the positive and maybe have lost sight of objectivity because they are trying to please the author.

2.) 80% fall into this 2nd category of trying to be helpful, supportive, and honest. So you might not hear what you want to hear but they are trying to help you through the lens of the admissions reader. If someone is pointing out both the positive and negatives and giving sanguine advice, then you know that they are doing their job. You might be personally defensive or offended in some cases but you shouldn't be penalizing them for being thorough and detail-oriented.

3.) 10% are a minority of reviewers who really shouldn't be reviewing anything because they themselves do not have the skills, vocabulary, grammar, or analytical mindset to be giving you any essay advice.

If you put your essay through 3 or 4 times, you will be able to gauge whether the feedback you received is consistent and germane and good advice or not. If someone told me that my topic or main points were wrong after 3 peer reviews, I'd definitely take the advice that perhaps only I think this is a good essay topic or message.

Remember what the objective of the essay is. It is an opportunity for you to share something about yourself with the admissions office that they can not glean from looking at the rest of your application. If you are a certain type of demographic, you might want to use this opportunity to show that you are a not a stereotypical type of applicant from this demographic and have unique talents abilities, and a singularly unique voice that can still be heard above the rest of the competition vying for the same spots.

The essay is a place to share with the reader how well you write, your choice of words, and your unique style. This is especially important if you are applying to Top Colleges where you will be expected to write a lot and perhaps have a Senior Capstone Thesis Project. The important thing is not to waste the opportunity on writing about things that do not necessarily make you a better choice for their college.

A month back, I remember reading an essay any about someone's obsession with eating with a tiny utensil and how identifying with this baby utensil was giving them superior insight/purpose because the utensil could compete with standard-sized utensils just as well. Since the baby utensil was short and compact like the author, they thought it was really clever to explain how this baby utensil now has become the most important material possession in their life and they use it every meal even though it's functionally deficient (as it can only hold exactly 1 noodle at the time) and how they were going to take it college and use it as a prop to differentiate themselves from other cohorts. Somehow this person thought making this baby utensil the focus of their MAIN ESSAY, it made them unique, interesting, and qualified to attend a top university. I don't know who would conflate this with the equivalent of getting straight 5s on his AP tests, winning the Intel Science Fair, or being a Presidential Scholar. Well, I didn't want to hurt their feelings by being a reviewer calling them out so I deleted my hour's worth of advice and took the (-10 Karma points) hit because some essays are really not worth reviewing. A week later I got the same essay to review, it had been only slightly modified but essentially 99% of the same essay which had all the same talking points so I took the hit again (-10 karma points) because this was a lost cause to me.

The point of me sharing this is that try to have an open mind about the feedback you receive. If you are so vested in your essay that you can't accept advice or feedback, perhaps it will be futile to keep submitting it if you expect different results that favor you each time.

Good luck.

🎤3 months ago

Thank you so much, exactly the info I was looking for


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