College application essays are hard, even for college presidents

Last year the Wall Street Journal challenged ten presidents of US colleges and universities to answer one essay question (which WSJ selected) from the president’s institution’s application. This story has discusses the process and the results and includes some very good consideration about writing such essays.

The exercise showed just how challenging it is to write a college essay that stands out from the pack, yet doesn’t sound overly self-promotional or phony. Even some presidents say they grappled with the challenge and had second thoughts about the topics they chose. Several shared tips about writing a good essay: Stop trying to come up with the perfect topic, write about personally meaningful themes rather than flashy ones, and don’t force a subject to be dramatic when it isn’t.

Perhaps next year I should do the same thing with our essay questions. What do you think? You can read the full article here.

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