In accordance with the common college applications, students were required to write an essay to show commitment to admissions. However, last year it was announced that students no longer need to write an essay to attend certain colleges. About 20% of 600 colleges won’t make you write an essay during your common application process. Some of the colleges at the same time may require an essay with their own additional applications.
Why do some schools not need essays?
College essays assist a school, which you’re applying to, to understand you better as a person beyond your academic achievements, test scores, and GPA. The essays give you an opportunity to clearly state your objectives and offer the admission officers a chance to see how you will fit with the college, as well as see concrete proofs of your writing abilities.
There is a sufficient number of colleges that don’t require essays anymore. The reasons for that are the following:
- Confined resources
- Certain admissions criteria
- Making an admission procedure appealing and easy
It takes a lot of time and efforts for an admission officer to read and assess college essays. Small schools with fewer resources as well as large schools where hundreds of students study may have difficulties in providing the resource to read every single essay of every student. The resources’ cost may be more important than the benefits of receiving supplemental details about the applications beyond the test scores, GPAs, and transcripts.
These concerns are sometimes balanced by requiring papers just for the most competitive programs like nursing and engineering, or for scholarships where extra details may be important to make the right decision.
Certain admissions criteria
Many schools, especially public schools, enroll students according to certain selection criteria, which tabulates a combination of test scores, GPA, and class rank. If applicants meet the minimum criteria score, they are enrolled into the university. Then the college may feel that extra information from an app essay is not important to make a decision on whether an applicant will be successful or not.
Selection criteria often differs from state to state as well as for in-state and out-of-state candidates. Out-of-state applicants are often subject to stricter academic criteria. The criteria are also taken into account when selecting students for scholarships.
However, schools that have selection criteria often do ask or recommend students to write essays if they are borderline applicants so that they could offer additional information about themselves and why they think they would be an excellent fit at a college despite not meeting the academic criteria.
Making admissions procedure appealing and easy
Some colleges believe that by making the admission procedure easy and asking only test scores, a transcript, and basic information, they will draw more applicants. Colleges that present their application procedure as an easy choice to more difficult procedures that ask for essays, recommendations, etc., may draw students who are doubting whether or not to apply to schools at all. Such colleges can also attract highly qualified candidates in order to be their safety school because they won’t need to compose extra essays or do additional work.
Finding schools that don’t require essays
According to information from the US Department of education, there are around 4,700 degree-granting post-secondary educational establishments in the US. This number includes both two-year establishments (1,700) and four-year establishments (around 3,000). Most of these establishments don’t actually ask you to submit an essay during the application process.
If you want to know whether a certain college requires essays for admissions, Google the name of the school and check its requirements. On the website of a college, you can also find the recommendations on entry essays. However, if you are looking specifically for colleges that do not require you to submit an essay, check the schools themselves.
You can find schools that don’t require essays in the following places:
- Public colleges in your state. Many public schools don’t require essays during the admission process. Although major public colleges may require assays for their admission, you may find that more specialized state schools or smaller campuses may not need you to submit an essay. Just Google, and you will get a big list of colleges in your state that don’t require you to write an essay.
- Colleges with automatic admissions criteria. Schools with automatic admissions criteria may not need the candidates who meet the automatic criteria to send essays. But, don’t just think that if you don’t meet automatic criteria you won’t need to compose an essay. For example, at UT Austin, all candidate must send essays regardless of whether or not they made the automatic criteria.
- Private liberal arts establishments. Other schools that may not ask for essays are private liberal arts establishments. These schools often don’t get a lot of applications to require essays to distinguish candidates.
- Community schools. Local community schools do not need you to submit an essay for an admission as most of them accept anyone. Some of the colleges even have the agreements of automatic transfer with local four-year colleges. But, if you want to transfer to a four-year college after you finish the community school, you may still need to submit an essay.
Is it worth applying to a school that does not require an essay?
If you’re worried about writing application essays for one reason or another, the good option for you will be applying to a school that does not require you to write essays.
Reasons to write a college essays
Even though you may be looking for a college that does not require you to submit an essay in your application process, you may still want to write an essay for the following reasons:
- You want to get a scholarship. You may still need to submit an essay if you want to get the most competitive scholarships.
- You’re applying to the most selective schools. If you’re enrolling, to the most selective schools, most certainly, you will have to write an essay. One of the best schools that don’t require to submit an essay is Clemson. However, if you want to get into Stanford, MIT. UChicago, or any other school of Ivy League, you will need to prepare an essay.
- You are a good writer. If you are a good writer you, you will certainly want to write college essays to show your writing abilities. So, if writing is something you’re good at, write an essay. Do not miss the chance to show your best qualities to the admissions officer.
- You want to explain certain circumstances. If there is any certain circumstance you would like to explain, for example, a one-year fall in scores because of a family illness, you will definitely want to submit an essay explaining that. This way you will compensate for any deficits in your academic record and avoid being penalized for the situations in your life you could not control during the admissions procedure.
- You can get help. Even though it is important for your college essay to be your own work, you are allowed to get assistance. Colleges expect you to show the best qualities of your personality so it means discussing ideas with the parents, friends, and teachers and having someone else to look through your drafts and offer suggestions.
There is a short essay prompt. Some college essays can hardly be called essays. Some require you to submit a paper of 250 words, while in other the cases, the standard is five hundred words.
You can reuse your essays for all the colleges. For colleges that use the Universal, Coalition, or Common college applications, you can usually use one essay to apply to all these colleges. However, some of them may require additional essays so make sure to check that in advance.
Should you write an essay?
If all the schools you want to apply to do not require you to submit an essay, that is great. But if there is a school of your dreams that requires you to submit one or even two short essays, don’t let it stop you from applying. If it is stressful for you to write essays or you have very limited time, you can always use help of professionals who will assist you in crafting a professional essay.
Tips for applying to no essay schools
Don’t automatically think that colleges that don’t require college applications essays are only the ones that are the easiest to get into. For example, university of Minnesota – Twin Cities only excepts around 40 percent of candidates and their middle 50 percent ACT range is 26–30. However, those schools where it is hardest to get into will require essays. According to data, around 60 percent of colleges don’t require college applications essays at all.
When considering to enroll in a no essay school, keep in mind the following recommendations:
- Check the acceptance rate of the college. Check the focus of the school when evaluating a candidate for admission. You can find the primary and secondary admission criteria on the websites of most college in the admissions section. For example, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities list some ACT/SAT scores, GPA, coursework, and class rank as their main admission criteria. Their secondary criteria are achievements in a certain area, outstanding talent, exceptionally thorough school curriculum, leadership, strong commitment to community service, first generation college student, military service, contribution to the diversity of the student body.
- Do students need to stand out? Check the admission statistics of the schools for SAT/ACT score and GPA. This information can be usually found on the website of the college in the admissions section. Tougher programs such as Science or Engineering will usually have higher test scores and GPA ranks.
- Admission factors you can’t control. Test scores, GPAs, and courses taken are black and white. Things like community service, leadership, talents, and abilities are a gray area. However, these things can still be emphasized to put you in a better position during the application process. These qualities are best highlighted through the list of activities you were engaged in and recommendation letters. If a college you’re applying to requires recommendation letters, think carefully about who should write these letters for you to make sure that the writer is well-versed in your accomplishments. As for the list of activities you took part in, you may simply list everything you’ve been involved in in your application. Other colleges will allow you to submit an activity resume. The more opportunities you have to explain your accomplishments, the better.
- Submitting supplemental information. Check whether or not the college allows you to submit samples of your work related to your major, portfolios, or other things that will allow you to make a stronger case for yourself. If you can’t find this information on the website of the college, email the admissions counselor and find out about it.
When applying to no essay schools, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have a chance to tell your story. In order to stand out among other applicants you just need to be a little more creative in figuring out how to tell your story. Find out where you stand within the range of the typical admitted students of the college to provide a confidence level that will help you get enrolled. If your statistics are on the lower end of usually admitted students, you will need to really think about how to be more creative in your application process.
It doesn’t matter where you apply, you will still need to write at least one essay whether in the beginning of the application process or later when the university will need to narrow down their candidates. If you’re thinking about where to apply and you need some help to choose the college, check out the applications guidance service where you will be paired with a personal admission specialist who can offer a step-by-step assistance through the whole application procedure including how to improve your approach to your personal essay.
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