<p>I'm a member of the Ernie Pyle Scholars program. When we applied, we were required to write an essay, which was more important to our application than our SAT scores and high school GPAs. We were told that in choosing students to be included in the program, the selection committee looked for essays that showed insight, curiosity, and other important qualities of a good journalist. The essay topic did not matter as much as the writing style; our subjects varied from the ethics of including women in the U.S. military draft to the motivations of a Shakespearean villain.
Most of us had worked in student publications in high school, as well as being involved in other extracurriculars. We all had fairly high GPAs, as well, but I think these factors were considered as a gauge of our work ethic and dedication, not our intelligence.</p>