Admissions essays don’t matter.
In 2014, Time magazine offered a startling notion to frazzled parents and anxious students worried about their college admissions packages: Those finely honed, painstakingly crafted essays “might not make a difference for your college admission chances.” After all, at some schools, the pool of applicants is much too large for every essay to be read — at the University of Pennsylvania, for instance, only 1 in 7 essays is a factor in an admission decision, according to the university’s dean of admissions.
But that doesn’t make them irrelevant. In fact, essays can be decisive when it comes to students whom admissions counselors are on the fence about. A student with borderline grades and test scores could secure a spot in the freshman class with an insightful, wellcrafted essay, or be rejected because of a lousy one — or when it’s clear to counselors that an adult, not a student, has written it. And a poorly constructed essay, or one marred by punctuation and grammatical errors, can sour even a great application.