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In fact, your essay could end up hurting an application for an otherwise strong candidate if it appears hastily written or not well thought-out.Factoring in your particular interests, talents, and intended major makes the importance of the essay even more nuanced.On the other hand, if your focus is clearly on a subject in which writing personally and creatively is not as essential, such as the life sciences or math, and your intended major follows the same suit, admissions committees may provide a little more leeway and judge your essay less harshly.
However, you should still aim to write a strong essay.
If anything, it will only complement the talent you have already conveyed with the rest of your profile — and it never hurts to impress the admissions committee.
This year’s questions instruct students to “think outside the box: take a risk and go somewhere unexpected.
Be serious if the moment calls for it but feel comfortable being playful if that suits you, too.”In addition to “Why Tufts,” the application also asks students to explore their background by writing about a Quaker saying, “Let your life speak.” Students are then asked to answer one more question from a list of six that range from, “Celebrate the role of sports in your life” to a Nelson Mandela quote followed by the question “Describe a way in which you have made or hope to make a difference.”Tufts includes examples of what its admissions office considers “past essays that mattered” on it’s website at admissions.tufts.edu/apply/advice/past-essays/.
Top private schools like the Ivies and similar-tier colleges also prefer to use a holistic approach when evaluating students, seeking to understand the candidate and his or her background as a whole.
At top-tier colleges, many of the candidates are already excellent students who have stellar grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities, so essays provide an additional way to differentiate candidates and understand their entire profiles and personalities.
In contrast, smaller colleges, especially liberal arts schools, tend to take a more holistic approach to evaluating candidates, since these colleges tend to be more self-selective and receive fewer applications.
Therefore, they can devote more time and resources to each individual application.
Additionally, while a strong essay may help borderline candidates, it won’t be enough to make up for an otherwise weak profile.
That said, students who know they may have weaker GPAs or test scores than other applicants at a particular school may want to take the time to craft a truly outstanding essay.