The Dreaded College Essay – Is It Necessary?

Bridget Connolly, Reporter

The college essay: It causes stress during the first few months of senior year. This important essay causes so much dissent that is not necessary. After a good thirteen drafts I think I finally completed my college essay. College is stressful to think about: deciding which one to go to, what to major in, the budget, and the applications. Seniors work so hard on their college essay to tell their schools a story about themselves, meanwhile they may not even get in.

Students hear many confusing rules about the college essay. Some rules include: don’t be humble but don’t show off too much; show how you’ve learned from a hardship but don’t show the schools that you have too much baggage; keep it short but tell the whole story.

These rules are so contradicting, that just figuring out what you should write about is difficult. We are used to making up stories, writing DBQ’s, or writing a research paper, so when it comes to writing about yourself many students really struggle. Many students struggle with bragging about accomplishments. This is mainly because of society today.

Some students struggle with this essay because there is a word limit. Usually 500-650 words is the range. Students have to sum up their 17 years in 650 words or less. College admission officers have to read thousands of these essays a day. Imagine how repetitive these essays must be and how many essays are similar. It must be hard to differentiate among all of these essays after reading hundreds of them. Overall this college essay is so stressful for both sides, the one writing it and the one reading it.

The amount of help students get from their teachers and guidance counselors to write these college essays, can turn them into completely different essays. It usually takes a student about four or five drafts to perfect their essay. The final draft is often more what the college wants to hear, rather than what the student wishes to write about. This makes all college essays particularly hypocritical because rather than it being about the student’s writing, it’s a story about a certain time in your life.

Therefore, the college essay should not be a necessity to applying to colleges. If the college enjoys your resume and think that your hard work will make a good fit to the school, then you should be interviewed in person and able to tell them about yourself. Rather than perfecting a 650-word essay about one aspect of your 17 years of living.