Slick Essays Are Too Good To Be True


College Application

College admissions officers are seeing a rising trend in one important part of the college application process. Along with the application itself, prospective students are required to submit an essay, a personal “pitch” that can make or break the student’s application.

The trend involves a surge in highly polished essays, words that appear well beyond the capabilities of even the above-average high school student. Some admissions officers have coined a term, DDI or Daddy Did It, to describe who they think had a hand in writing the essay and are taking steps to reveal which students may be getting “special assistance” when applying for college.

According to a report about this topic which appeared recently in The Boston Globe, some colleges are now cross-referencing student essays with their SAT scores to see if they can spot a trend. At Harvard, officers will sometimes forward the most suspicious essays to professors to analyze.

Over the past several years, college essays have become a much more important part of the application process. SAT scores, grades and the application itself are important, but the swing vote is often cast for the student with a solid essay.

It is the trained eye of an admissions officer who can catch a highly polished essay even in a sea of applicants. Those free of grammatical errors or which make use of solid syntax raise a red flag. On the other hand, essays which have a bit of a rough edge to them are usually attributed to the student.

Colleges generally don’t mind when a student seeks outside help when writing an essay, but they reject those that are written by professionals. Using your own words instead of language that could find its way in a national magazine is what colleges prefer, according to the article.

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