Pressure Being Student Essay For Admission

Students prepare for applying to selective colleges by taking rigorous courses, participating in extracurricular activities, studying for standardized tests, and more. All of this preparation, however, can distract attention from one of the most notorious sections of the college application: the essays.

The essay is both the most and the least visible part of the competitive admissions process. Everyone knows that the essay is critical, but few actually get to see what “successful” essays look like. Some online resources, like The College Board, post examples of college application essays, but they often lack the necessary context for a reader to truly assess how accurately that essay conveys a student’s personality and interests.

When choosing a topic for an essay, students need to consider what the essay prompt is asking, the universities to which they’re applying, their goals, and, ultimately, what the essay says about them as a student and as a person.

Why the Essay Matters

Before you can choose a compelling essay topic, you first need to understand why there’s an essay in the first place. When evaluating college applications, most colleges use a “reading rubric” to evaluate the different components of each application. Aside from the “hard factors,” like grades, GPA, and test scores, colleges also look at the “soft factors,” such as extracurriculars, recommendation letters, demonstrated interests, and essays. The point of evaluating all these factors is to enable colleges to holistically build a well-rounded class of specialists. The essay (or essays) is a great way to learn more about an applicant, her motivations, life experiences, and how she can contribute to the campus community.

According to NACAC, 83 percent of colleges assign some level of importance to the application essay, and it’s usually the most important “soft factor” that colleges consider. The essay is important because it gives students the chance to showcase their writing and tell the college something new. It also allows admissions officers to learn more about students and gain insight into their experiences that other parts of the application do not provide. Just like any other admissions factor, a stellar essay isn’t going to guarantee admission, but students do need to craft compelling and thoughtful essays in order to avoid the “no” pile.

Related: How a Great College Essay Can Make You Stand Out

Types of Essays

Let’s talk about the different types of essays that a college may require applicants to submit. Over 500 colleges and universities use the Common Application, which has one required essay, called the personal statement. There are five new prompts to choose from, and this essay can be used for multiple colleges.

Related: Why I Love the New Common Application Essay Prompts

Beyond the Common Application essay, many colleges also have supplements that ask additional, university-specific questions which applicants must respond to with shorter-form essays. While topics vary from supplement to supplement, there are a few standard essay formats that many colleges use:

Personal Statement

This is the most common essay and is used for the main Common Application essay. In this essay, the applicant talks about a meaningful life experience that helped shape who she is today. The book “Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College” has a great section on the personal statement and how students can craft effective essays.

“Why This College?” Essay

Many colleges, including Columbia University and Duke University, use the supplement to ask applicants to explain why they have chosen to apply to this particular college. In this essay, students need to be detailed and offer specific examples for wanting to attend this school. Not only does it help students reiterate their passions, it also serves as a gauge for demonstrated interest and a vehicle for students to better articulate how they will contribute to the campus environment.

Activity Essay

In this essay, students write about an extracurricular activity or community service project that was especially meaningful to them. This essay was previously on the standard Common Application, but was removed starting in the 2014–15 application season. Instead, some colleges, like Georgetown University, choose to include a variation of this essay among their supplements by asking students to discuss an activity and its significance to their life or course of study. In this essay, students should choose an activity they’re most passionate about and include details about how they expect to continue this activity at the particular college.

Related: Using Your High School Internship as Inspiration for Your College Essay

Quick Takes

In an effort to challenge students to think creatively, some colleges include short, “quick take” prompts that require only a few words or sentences for the response. Some examples include University of Southern California’s “What’s the greatest invention of all time?” and University of Maryland’s sentence completion prompts like “My favorite thing about last Wednesday…”

What NOT to Write About

In order to stand out, it’s important to realize that there are a number of essay topics that are cliché and overused. Avoid writing about things like scoring the winning goal, topics of public consciousness like natural disasters, or something that happened to you in middle school. Also, avoid gimmicks like writing in a different language, presenting your essay as a poem, or anything else that is stylistically “out of the box.” Your focus should be on the message rather than the presentation.

It’s also important to avoid inappropriate or uncomfortable topics. Some students choose to write about things like sex or romantic relationships in order to stand out; yet, these topics fail to add substance or depth to an application. There’s a fine line between interesting and trite — don’t stand out for the wrong reasons.

Successful Essay Topics

A successful essay will reveal something about you that the admissions reader may not have already known, and will show how you interact with family and friends and demonstrate your beliefs or explore your passions. This doesn’t mean you have to regurgitate your resume — in fact, you definitely shouldn’t.

For example, a student whose number one extracurricular activity is swimming should not write an essay about “the big meet.” Instead, she could explore a more personal topic, such as something she is learning in class that conflicts with her religious beliefs. She can discuss the intersection of religion and education in her life and how she reconciled the differences — or didn’t.

A great essay also provides readers with a vivid picture. When crafting an essay, think of it as offering admissions readers a window into a certain event or story. Focus on the most meaningful moments, not the irrelevant background details.

For example, a student once wrote an essay about feeling out of place culturally during an internship. Instead of giving a general description of the internship and his conflicts, he opened the essay with a vivid description of what he saw when he first arrived, and used this scene to frame the feelings of alienation he underwent — giving the reader a striking image of his experience in great detail.

Remember, your college application essay is about you. There’s a lot of pressure to be “unique” and “interesting,” but at the end of the day, the key to standing out is to just be yourself. Admissions officers can tell when students are embellishing or being insincere in their essays, so it’s best to keep it simple and tell a story about you and the person you are today. In the end, with careful planning, research, and a thoughtful essay, you’ll get into the best-fit college for you!

For further guidance and examples, check out Noodle's collection of expert advice about college essays.

Yes!

Teens are under immense pressure to join college. Reason being everyone expects them to perform very well in every discipline which may not be the case for some.
Everyone has different abilities and when one is under pressure to deliver especially in school, the feeling can be frustrating. Parents want the best for their children and so do the teachers and the society in general. Many admire joining the top colleges, followed by a lucrative job in this competitive economy. To meet these expectations, teens must perform extremely well in school. The parents will put immense pressure on them to earn good grades, no matter the cost.

To add on this, the teen has more than enough to juggle on daily basis including extracurricular activities, loads of homework and a social life to cover. All in the name of getting good grades. Study shows that the intense pressure may backfire and the result is social, physical and emotional stress.

Increased Worries About Keeping Up

Before the teen joins college, the excitement of meeting other teenagers is high. Of course keeping in mind that he/she will meet the right company to share stories, play together and other activities. But, school comes with more choices and option that the teenager expects. There is more work with great demands.

For the first time in their life they have to worry about grades and not when they next meal will be. This is where they have to choose a path before joining the next level either college, trade school or career. Remember, they are in a competitive environment hence the need to feel the pressure since everyone is working hard to achieve the same goal as you.

With the daily activities happening in their life, they are anxious to keep up. For some even a simple task of getting prepared to attend class is a challenge. The anxiety is accelerated by the workload of daily assignments, projects that have to be submitted on time and finally the kid has to bring materials to school.

After school, the teenager is exhausted and once they get home, there is little time to do homework and study. Students who lack proper organization and time management may become overwhelmed and fall behind.

Fear of Failure among the Teenagers

No one want to fail in academics and so does the teens preparing to join college. As more pressure to perform builds up, many teens start to worry if they will ever succeed. This is common to teens who have experienced learning issues and fear that even if they study hard, they may end up failing in their test. They are afraid of being confronted by their teacher in school and the parents at home. And the thought of not making it to the next level comes into play. This pressure becomes too much to a point of frustrating the teens in school.

Feeling Stressed and Anxiety

It is unfortunate that most teens collapse under too much pressure from teachers and parents. Some probable consequences include cheating, sleep deprivation, worrying, eating disorders, loss of interests in hobbies, burnout or withdrawal from family and friends. Stress and anxiety can also occur. In teens, it is hard to identify cases of anxiety since they may not say anything at all or just complain about physical symptoms. Some may experience nightmares and other may refuse to go to school.

Lack of Self-Image

For teenagers, being in school means more and more tests and about four to five hours of concentration doing homework every night. The result can be negative according to a study featured in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. The research discovered that parent who put a lot pressure on their children by over-managing their lives may end up having cases of depression, low self-esteem and competence. In actual sense, the parent may think they are actually supporting the teen but the parenting style end up ruining the self-confidence of the teenager.

Social Pressures

Teens try hard to fit in a particular social situation which can be stressing especially if they don’t fit in. They want to be popular and have as many friends and followers as possible. At times they may find themselves in dangerous situations where they have to make tough decisions. Fellow teens may have planned a house party and the temptation to drink and smoke becomes high. They have to make a decision whether to drink, smoke or not. Such decision can be stressful.

Well, the fact remains that teens may experience a lot pressure to go to college due to high expectations set by the parents. The result is increased worries, stress, anxiety, lack of self-confidence since they don’t want to fail.

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