As the college admissions landscape changes, the focus shifts to essays | Tech US News

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CHASKA, Minnesota — For parents of high school graduates, this time of year is the beginning of the enrollment adventure.

The number of applications is increasing again, and the process continues to change. One area that has gained more prominence in recent years is the college admissions essay.

“I would say it took me longer than some of my actual classes,” explained Becca Moore, a senior at Southwest Christian High School.

Moore says the essays were the hardest part.

“I think it’s easy to see the questions and know what you think the college might want to hear and what you should actually write about,” Moore said.

She asked her parents for help. At her age, they had a different experience.

“My mom was like, ‘I just walked into the admissions office of some small college in Nevada, handed them my application, went to take the ACT and that was it,'” Moore described.

The family reached out to college essay teacher Stef Tschida. He says the essay is one of the biggest changes in admissions.

“Sometimes I have students write 10 and 12 essays. I personally don’t remember if I had to write a single one. It was definitely not an event if I did,” Tschida said.

More than 1,700 colleges and universities, including St. Thomas, does not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission in fall 2023 and, in some cases, for several years. When these scores don’t count, other factors, including the essay, count more.

“Should I apply with my ACT & SAT score or not, and that’s a big question mark even as we come out of the pandemic,” Tschida said.

Tschida’s tips for success include taking enough time to review and edit your essay, figuring out what makes you most unique by choosing a prompt that fits, and finishing your senior year. Many colleges will still require transcripts until the end of the year so they can maintain your GPA.

One of the main prohibitions is to avoid writing about minor struggles with the pandemic.

“If you generally have a ‘yeah, maybe my grades are down a little bit, maybe I’ve had to learn some time management in COVID,’ that’s not substantial enough,” Tschida said.

Finally, a little advice for moms and dads from a teenager who doesn’t live under your roof.

“Make sure you support your student in any way they may need. Whether it is a short reading of his paper or being honest with him. I think if you have parents who would say ‘wow, that’s a really good idea,’ but in reality I had some terrible ideas and my parents were honest and I really appreciated that,” Tschida said.

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