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Craft the Perfect College Admissions Essay with Advice from MIT’s Dean of Admissions—An Interview interview with Stuart Schmill, image

The college application essay is a great source of anxiety for many students—but it doesn't need to be. Get advice on the right way to approach admissions essays in this interview with Stuart Schmill, MIT's dean of admissions…

FORT WORTH, TEXAS, USA, August 3, 2021 / -- August 1 marks the start of the college application season. Students all over the U.S. and around the world will fill out the Common App, apply through the Coalition for College, or submit applications directly to colleges and universities for Fall 2022. And apart from waiting for acceptance letters, no element of the application process generates more anxiety than writing those mandatory essays.

To support you through this process, sought expert advice from Stuart Schmill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology dean of admissions and student financial services, who discusses the best approach to college admissions essays in his conversation with student interviewer Karina Macosko:

MIT’s Dean Explains How to Write Your College Essay

“It's really the one part of the application where you can speak directly to us, to admissions officers.” says Schmill. “You're getting to talk to us about yourself and what motivates you, what kind of environment you like to work in, and what you think you can bring to a community. Because what we're doing in an admissions office, we're making decisions on who we're admitting and everybody we admit; we're inviting to our community.”

Schmill advises students to change how they envision the essay and what they believe it should accomplish.

“Don't think of the essay as like a writing test. Think of it as an opportunity to communicate, so clear language is much better than trying to be overly stylistic. Just try to relax…communicate one thing about yourself that you think you want us to know, and that's fine.”

Yes, students have many tasks to juggle as they search for schools and look for ways to make the college admissions process work for them. That’s why provides a wide range of resources for students, all designed to simplify the college preparation and selection process. So, check out these tools and tips:
● Custom College Rankings—create custom school rankings through 26 selectable filter criteria personalized to a student’s needs
● College Admissions Consultants Directory—visit the College Admissions Consultants Directory page to find state-based listings of admissions consulting agencies and counselors who can help students get into a choice school.
● Desirability Index—show the degree to which students choose one school over another
● College Strategist—find a student’s optimum target, safety, and reach schools
● Interviews—hear insights from top education journalists covering admissions and get admissions tips from experts

“With so many checkboxes to tick in the transition from high school senior to incoming college student, we understand the stress students face. It’s why we talk with acknowledged experts in the college entrance process such as Stuart Schmill, Sara Harberson, Ron Lieber, Paul Tough, and Jeff Selingo,” says Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of and professor of physics at Wake Forest University. “Got questions? At, we get answers to the most pressing admissions questions from the top people in the field—experienced insiders and analysts who can help guide students on the path to success.”

For additional insights into the college admissions process, check out Stuart Schmill's discussion of admissions advisors, coaches & consultants with Jed Macosko. is the preeminent technology-driven rankings site dedicated to students, researchers, and inquirers from high school through college and beyond, offering resources that connect learners to leaders. (Visit the About page for further details on the capabilities and advantages of this unique ranking technology and on the people who make it possible.) is a part of the EducationAccess group, a family of sites dedicated to lifelong learning and personal growth.

Jed Macosko, Ph.D.
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