Admissions officers state the importance of the essay.
"The essay is monumentally important. It is your chance to get a college to know you beyond numbers. Remember, we'll see your transcripts and recommendation letters. Here you can describe – in your own voice – your goals, passions, and experiences lie no one else. Here you give a committee a sense of the context in which you experienced high school and how you overcame certain challenges....Sure, we pay attention to your command or language and grammar. But we also want to get a sense of how you think and process information. Are you ready to study at this college and live on this campus?"
– Gariot P. Louima, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success,
"...be sure that what you submit reflects you to the greatest extent possible."
– Douglas Christiansen, Vice Provost for University Enrollment Affairs and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
William & Mary
"The application is a chance for us to hear a student's story and listen to their voice – that hasn't changed in 2020, and it is likely more important than ever that we continue to engage in this process from a holistic perspective."
– Tim Wolfe, Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission
"High school seniors should write the essay, even if it's not required by their school of choice. The essay can highlight important aspects of their life that align with the preferred school's mission or culture, offer a window into their plans for the future, or provide context to borderline test scores or a semester with lower grades."
– Elizabeth Johnson, Provost
All quotes from an article by Judy Mandell of the New York Times News Service.