Students often wonder why some colleges still require admission essays as part of the application process. There are also those who question whether admission panels really take time to read admission essays send in their thousands every year. Writing the perfect admission essay may seem like an uphill task. However, it is important to research on how to write a winning admission essay, since admission panels actually read them and also view them as an important part of the college application process. A student may have exceptional grades; however, a badly written admission essay might deny such a student admission into a coveted college. It is also important to note that a student whose grades fall slightly below par, may have a chance to redeem himself/herself by writing an exceptional admission essay that leaves a positive impression on the admission panel.

There are several reasons why certain colleges and universities require students to write admission essays. The most obvious being that they need to know who you are as an individual; this is information that cannot be derived from test scores or GPA. Other reasons are outlined below:

To Test Writing Skills

Most universities and colleges in the United States require students to write admission essays. In most cases, students are expected to respond to prompts such as: who are you, or, who has helped shape the person you are today? Some colleges give students open-ended prompts to pick any topic they want. The main reasons why applicants are expected to write such essays, is to test their writing skills.  In college, you will be expected to write very many essays in the various classes that you will attend. Colleges will not admit students who do not have the basic writing skills that are necessary for them to succeed. The admission panel will be looking to see whether your grammar is up to their stands. They will be looking to see whether you have very good command of vocabulary, that will enable you to communicate effectively under different circumstances. The admission essay will also allow the admission panel to determine whether you are able to organize your thought in a coherent manner.

High number of students applying for few slots.

The application process has become very competitive in recent times. This is because there are very many students who have excellent grades or GPAs applying to the same colleges and universities. Globalization has made it very easy for students from all parts of the globe to apply to some of the best universities in the world. As such, admission panels can no longer rely on test scores alone to admit students. They now want to look beyond the numbers, to the personality of the individual. They want to know who you are, what are your interests, what are your goals and what are your successes as well as failures. Admission panels are usually interested in knowing who you are in order to determine whether you will add value to the student body. The panel looks out for students who portray good qualities such as boldness, honesty and leadership through their admission essays.

To test for soft skills

There are very many skills which are necessary for a student to thrive in any institution of higher learning. Soft skills are those that cut across different fields. The admission panel will want to know whether you have good interpersonal skills that will allow you to relate well with other students in campus. They will also be interested to see whether you possess critical thinking skills. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, critical thinking is “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement”. Even though admission essays usually require you to write about your personal experiences, you must still show that you possess a deep sense of personal awareness that is unique. You must show the admission panel that you are able to reflect about yourself, your successes and your failures in a manner that is meaningful. Other soft skills that the panel may looks out for include: open mindedness, creativity and problem solving skills among others.

To test whether you are a good fit

Universities and colleges usually have very different values that govern their day to day life. Those universities which are run by religious institutions may be very conservative. They may therefore look out for an individual who has conservative views. The kind of person you portray in the admission letter, will determine whether you will be admitted or not. An individual who seems to enjoy a fast paced life may not be very comfortable in a collage located in the country side. It is important to note that colleges are not only concerned about their students’ academic wellbeing, but also their social life.

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