Aside from your high school grades and SAT score, your college essay will have a large bearing on your approval.
Your high school record may not be spotless, with a few Ds or even an F scattered over the transcript. These records are permanent and totally out of your control. The same goes if you did not ace your SAT. While it may be unfortunate if you are applying for a college, it happens to many students and it is normal. It will affect your application but it does not necessarily ruin it. You still have a shot with your college essay,
Your college essay will hold out the rest of your application. Take time to write a compelling essay that will help you stand out from a hundred hopefuls. It is your one chance to show the admission board why you deserve a slot.
Your essay should show the admission board the person behind the As or Ds. It should allow them not just a glimpse, but also a complete understanding of your personality, values, aspirations, and your commitment.
But do not confuse your college essay with a resume or an autobiography. Listing down your accomplishments and honors in high school does not automatically equal a good college essay. Here are a few tips to help you come up with a readable and effective essay.
* Write it yourself. Having someone else write it for you will not be a good idea. A good essay should carry your voice - not your dad's or your uncle's. Remember: the biggest crime in writing college essays is trying to sound like a 40-something professional when you are only 17.
* Do not write to impress, write to express. Do not inflate your accomplishments. Writing about what you think the admission staff wants to hear is not a good idea either. Talking about the current political situation will not be as interesting as your own experiences. Write about what you know by heart.