Tis the season not only for Halloween but also something equally scary for some: college applications! Cal State universities have already started accepting applications and will continue to do so through November 30 for priority filing. UC also has a deadline of November 30. The Common Application (“Common App.) application for fall of 2023, which is used as a universal application for many private colleges, must be submitted by January 1, 2023.
Cal State applications don’t require an essay, but the UC application requires four 350 word (maximum) essays, and the Common App. requires one 650 word (maximum) essay. Additionally, various schools may have additional supplemental essays that you need to complete, so check the supplemental essay section of the Common App. to see what additional essays you need to write for the private colleges you choose to apply to.
Don’t freak out about writing these essays. Excelsior has experienced staff and faculty who can help. Just ask if you need assistance.
Keep in mind, though, what the purpose is of these essays. Colleges want to know if you will be the kind of student who will stand out academically and, one day, professionally. Their alumni succeeding in the world outside of their university boundaries makes their university look good plus increases the chances of more alumni donating more money to the college and higher quality applicants applying to their universities. So you need to look at these essays as not just the kind of essays you would turn in for your English class, but rather as kinds of personal marketing. You need to show the university why you have the qualities that they are looking for, such as leadership ability, initiative, passion, creativity, perseverance, open mindedness, appreciation for diversity, and commitment to your community. And you need to show that you have these characteristics with specific examples and vivid stories, rather than just declaring that you have these virtues.
But again, feel free to ask Excelsior staff or faculty if you need help. We are there to support you and we believe in you!