@RP: I noticed that you posted the same question on the Harvard and Yale threads. As I have one kid at each school, I thought I would elaborate a bit more on essay writing, which I mentioned in the Harvard thread.
My son spent three months working on his essays. Before pressing the submit button, he wrote for about two months, coming up with 17 different essays on various topics. After selecting two essays he liked the best, he spent another month re-writing and editing his pieces, which gained him admission to Yale.
My daughter spent five months working on her essays. After working for about four months, she only had one piece that she wanted to submit, so she went through all of her essays that she had written for English classes and found one she loved. Unfortunately, it was 4,000 words and contained many swear words, which she thought were inappropriate for a college essay. She spent a month writing and editing and working on that piece, which ultimately gained her admission to Harvard.
I just posted this on another thread, but in case you didn't see it, here it is again: One of my favorite admissions quotes is from a book What You Don’t Know Can Keep You Out Of College by Don Dunbar.
"If the admissions office door has four locks on it, the first two keys are test scores and school record, and the third is special talent or some other accomplishment or quality. What is the fourth key? It’s “character.” An old fashioned word, it means the way you develop your inner qualities: intellectual passion, maturity, social conscience, concern for community, tolerance, inclusiveness."
Essays are really the key -- and it's where the admissions directors find clues to your character. Best of luck to you.
Last edited by gibby; 07-09-2012 at 04:28 PM.