The college application essay doesn’t have to be an intimidating part of the process. But it’s tough to know if you should write about enduring those sleepless nights with a newborn, or how you worked your way up from an entry-level position to manager, or your amazing ability to juggle your kids’ schedules with your work.
Three experts share how adult learners can use their life and work experience and other tips to perfect your essay and stand out as an applicant.
“For adult learners, the essay provides a window of opportunity to share life changes that have prompted a need for continued education. Additionally, the essay allows applicants to showcase a development of maturity over the years. It’s always advisable for adult applicants to provide information supporting their path of learning throughout the essay’s content. This allows the reader to learn more about the applicant as a person rather than an application.”
~Kristen Collins, Associate director, Office of Admissions, Adelphi University (Garden City, NY)
“As an adult learner, it is more important to focus on your academic goals in the context of whatever type of essay requested. Grammar and writing style will always be important but an adult essay should say more than simply why you would like to meet Abraham Lincoln. It should include lessons you have learned from life and how those lessons have shaped you and your academic goals. If you had a previous attempt at an undergraduate degree, share some of that story and what you learned from and since that experience.”
~Timothy Dawson, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Systems, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (Harrisburg, PA)
“Employ the best advice from your English teachers: Remember to show and tell, speak in your own unique — though grammatically-correct voice — and always write about what you know and not what you think college admissions officers want to know. An essay about what you know will have far more details that you are eager and able to convey than one about a topic that you think would impress admissions officers.”
~Craig Meister, President, Tactical College Consulting (Stevenson, MD)