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Writing the college essay is a vital part of the application process — and help is available

… earning a spot in a prestigious college helps you secure a better job

Securing a spot in a prestigious college or university is still worth the effort. However, the ones who are most prestigious and offer the best academic and financial aid packages are worth looking at even if lower ranked ones will accept you without any.

And, if you do not perform well on the standardized tests like the SAT or ACT or did not do as well in school, the essays could be very important.

So, is writing college essays important? If you want to enter a prestigious school, the answer is yes,

The college application process is stressful for many reasons. It can be difficult to keep track of different deadlines, get sealed copies of your transcripts, and get those super-important letters of recommendation. But nothing seems to stress applicants out quite as much as writing the college essay …

Many frustrated applicants often find themselves asking “are college essays important?” Generally, the answer is “yes.” But how important will depend on the selectivity of schools you’re applying to. Remember, most colleges in America accept a majority of applicants.

Chris Snellgrove, Ph.D., English Professor, 2024

Test-optional schools

Since Covid, many schools are not requiring students to take the SAT or ACT. The problem that they face is that they have no idea how good the high schools are that they student attended, and they need something to use instead.

How test optional/test blind have changed admissions

As you can tell, college essays are very important for applicants hoping to get accepted into prestigious institutions. And if you are planning to apply to any colleges that are test optional or test blind, then the essay probably becomes more important, since schools have fewer data points to work with.

If you don’t already know, test optional schools are ones that do not require you to submit ACT or SAT test scores as part of the application process. And test blind schools are ones that go one step further and actually refuse to look at test scores when it comes to choosing who they will admit.

Test optional and test blind schools have embraced this methodology because it helps them to attract a more diverse array of students than they would normally get. But if you are applying to such schools, keep in mind that your college essay will be one of the most important parts of your application.

Ultimately, the college essay remains important because it can be a key factor in the admissions process. So before you submit that application packet, make sure your essay has all the “write” ingredients to help you stand out.

Chris Snellgrove, Ph.D., English Professor, 2024

If you would like help with writing these essays, visit my website or email me at

I have helped numrous students with their essays who have entered prestigious schools.


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