What College Essay Readers Want

It Can Make or Break Your Application. Here’s WHY & HOW.


So much pressure has never been put on 650 words or less. 


Why is essay such a crucial part of the admissions process?


As you know, colleges today receive more applications than ever.


They’re choosing between thousands of students who all have excellent grades, test scores, and resumes. 


And in a sea of similar information, the essay portion is your best chance of standing out. 


It’s what breathes life into your application, showing who you are beyond all the checkboxes, making you more three dimensional. 


When the essays are done well, it’s often the reason why a school will choose one student over another.


So what should the goal of your kid’s essay be? What are admissions officers really looking for?


On a basic level, they want a sense of how you’re going to contribute to campus life. Do you have values that fit the school’s culture? How will you hold up in the classroom? Are you the kind of person someone’s going to want as a roommate or a lab partner? 


Now the trick is, as the tried and true writing rule goes, a strong college essay will “show, not tell.” In other words, it’s not effective to answer these questions literally. An essay that says, “I make a great roommate because I always pick up after myself,” isn’t going to make the cut. But an essay that artfully demonstrates insight, self-awareness, character, and compassion might just stop an application reader in their tracks. 


Remember, these decision-makers have thousands of essays to get through. They only spend an average of two minutes reading each one. Can you imagine the monotony of hearing student after student make a straightforward case for their merits? 


To make a memorable impression, you need an element of surprise. 


That’s why our goal as essay coaches is to unlock and reveal another dimension of a student readers couldn’t possibly glean from their resume, transcripts, or even their recommendations. 


We peel back the layers of who a student thinks they have to be to gain approval, and get to the heart of who they really are — the thing that makes them remarkable. 


We call it The Remarkable Factor. 


Every kid has it. Our process simply brings it to the surface. 


It’s an organic process. Because admissions officers are ultimately looking for authenticity. And you can’t fake that. 


Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest intellect or the sharpest writer. 


When you reveal your depths and lead with sincerity, your story will stand out. 


And you’ll be seen as someone the right school would be lucky to have. 



Want to know more about what goes into a Remarkable College Essay?


I’ve got a FREE 3-PART MINI TRAINING so you avoid the tropes and bring out that Remarkable Factor in your kid. 


The Remarkable College Essay FREE 3-PART MINI-TRAINING with Top Admissions Expert Sheila Akbar, PhD shares 3 Key Ingredients for a Remarkable Essay



  • Avoid tropes that land in the “meh” pile
  • Express authenticity that truly stands out
  • Overcome the most common essay blocks 


You want your child to have their best shot at college. The Remarkable College Essay can set them apart.

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