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Admissions essays just became more important (in California, anyway).

A judge in California just ruled the UC system can't take SAT and ACT scores into consideration at all in the admissions process. (Here's the story:

Why? Because not everyone has equal access to those exams and even looking at the scores of people who are able to take them creates a disadvantage for those who cannot.

What does that mean for you, if you're applying to schools in California? Great board scores won't help you stand out. (Not that they do, anyway, because lots of people have great board scores and still don't get in. After all, it's just a number.)

It's another reason why your essays are so important. They allow you to speak directly to admissions officers in your own voice. Of course, preparation is important and not everyone has the same resources - or personality or gift for language - to prepare to write their best possible essay. But it's crucial to do all you can to take your best shot - now more than ever, and not only in California!

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Lee Shulman Bierer writes that there are a few common topics to avoid, like your volunteer experiences, or your random sports win. Read the article here to find out what you should write about instead

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