Prospective students, believe it or not, this will be you someday at whatever college you choose to attend (hopefully UVa!!). As obvious as that sounds, somewhere between the teacher recs and essays, I think it’s easy to loose sight of the fact that you really will become a college student someday and all of your labors will be well worth it. In the craziness of applying to college, there is hope alas.
Right now, I imagine, many of you seniors are indeed somewhere between the teacher recs and essays. I hope that it is going well! It’s hard to believe that was only a year ago for me. I wrote my Common App essay on the issue of corruption in the business world because of an internship that I’d had the previous summer. If you’re planning to choose that topic, I suggest relating it to a personal event as well. As for the UVa supplement (for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences), I wrote about a painting of my grandmother’s for my “favorite work of art, literature, or math” and then I discussed the quote for my second essay, relating it to some events in my high school career. Having just gone through the essay-writing process less than a year ago, my best advice is to make it personal. You could easily answer the Common App and UVa Supplement essay questions without providing much personal depth, but don’t fall into that trap.
Also, I know that it’s easy to really stress about the essays, I certainly did. I would encourage you to resist that temptation and take heart in recognizing that most of work is already done. While my essays were important, they certainly did not get me into UVa. Now that I’m on the other side, I realize that four years of working hard both in school and in extracurriculars did. The fun will come in late March/early April when admissions decisions come out and you’ll be one step closer to being on the other side, hopefully at UVa with me!