I am currently writing my application essays. It is very difficult. One thing that makes it so hard is I really don't know who will be reading it. I know that it goes to the college admission office, but what happens then? I get the feeling that there is a set of dangerous looking people there who are just waiting to criticize what I have written. Has anyone ever seen how these "secret" admission committees really work?
From the College Grazing editors---
Before you write your essay it is important for you to know something about the people who will be reading it.
Your application goes to the college admissions office. Here, all your materials—data, letters, and writing—will be evaluated to determine whether you will be admitted or not. The admissions office is not some dark enclave where applications are subjected to secretive, mystical rites of selection and rejection. Instead applicants are judged by sensitive human beings in a fair-minded, humane manner.
The admissions office exists to serve the institution. Each college determines its own goals and, based on these goals, develops an admissions policy. This policy rests on how the institution is defined collectively by the faculty, administration, and students. Indeed, this policy is organic and changes as needs change and student performance varies. The policy must accurately reflect the institution’s view of itself. The admissions office then must match this definition of the college with appropriate students. This is not an easy task. The admission director must blend the policy with a whole array of other considerations: the financial aid situation, departmental needs, geographic considerations, minority blends, the balance of the sexes, etc. The director works to fulfill the dictates of the policy and selects students who not only are bright and active, but who will evolve together to create a campus that is vital and alive.
Applicants then are judged by many external standards. Students are not rejected because of some whimsical mood or prejudice of an admissions staff member. Moreover, rejection or selection is rarely the decision of one individual. It is generally the work of a committee frequently consisting of admissions staff members, faculty, and students. These committee members are not hard-nosed executioners ready to chop applicants apart. They are instead shrewd observers who blend the definition of their institutions with the personality of the individual who stands behind the application materials. They work hard to understand you as revealed in your personal essay.