Decapitated Bodies and Your College Essay

Before I tell you what the h-ell today’s subject header is about, let me do a little ‘splaining. ūüôā

Picture the life of your average admissions officer, sorting through application after application, long into the dark, cold winter nights.

It’s not easy to figure out who’s qualified to attend a particular college, given rampant high school grade inflation, super-abundant “pay to play” extra curricular and summer activities as well as a multitude of glowing teacher recommendations.

Now consider this:

One of the essay experts on our team, Sarah, served as an admissions officer at U Chicago for five years.

On average, she reviewed 1,000 applications each year!

Note that I said “applications,” not essays, by the way.¬† Each U Chicago application contained three-five essays. So in Sarah’s case, she reviewed close to 4,000 ESSAYs each year!

Now that you have a little background, what do you think Sarah and her colleagues crave in an essay most desperately, after they’ve logged hours, days and weeks reading essays about “leadership” and overcoming obstacles like getting cut from soccer?

To see something interesting!

And/or, dare I say it, entertaining!

Which brings me back to the meaning behind the subject header of today’s email.¬† Here’s where I got the¬†idea for this, ahem, “post:”

Your essay must serve the same function as a tabloid headline:  to draw in the reader, to make him/her want more.

It’s no secret why tabloid headline writers are among the highest paid writers in the world – their job is to stop you dead in your tracks at the supermarket, deli, wherever and capture your attention.

This is no easy task, as we’re each bombarded by an estimated 4,000 messages per day.

So too must your essay cut through the clutter, reach out and (figuratively) grab your admissions officer by the throat and scream,¬†THIS is why you should pay attention to me!¬† This is why you should admit me!”

If you’re reading this, that means I’ve successfully gotten your attention.¬† I’m practicing what I preach.

If you want help “punching up” or writing essays from scratch, our¬†college essays and apps bootcamp is almost sold out but we still have a few slots.¬† Here’s where to take a looksie at what our Bootcampers will accomplish:


See you on Page 6!

-Andy “Slightly Embarrassed Tabloid Reader” Lockwood

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