With a record number of students applying to colleges and universities every year, competition is surely but steadily hotting up. In these difficult economic times, landing a decent job and enjoying a respectable standard of living upon completing one's schooling may no longer be a given. No wonder then, that more and more High School graduates want to go to college. Inevitable, then, that institutions of higher learning are tightening their admission requirements. This year, the Common Application for admission to colleges and universities has done away with the topic of choice essay. Now, there will be around five topics for the personal statement that will be rotated every year. Students can select any one topic and write on it. The word limit too, has been reduced from 650, to 500 words. The minimum is 250 words. The new Common App essay requirements have been criticised, opposed and railed against. But to no avail. These measures are designed to provide more uniformity, to give all students a more level playing field. Also, narrowing down the essay topics and reducing the maximum word limits makes it easier for admissions officials to sift the grain from the chaff. A limitless variety in essay topics made the selection process somewhat uneven, they say. Now, it's less whimsy. And more efficiency. So, aspiring undergraduates who are setting pen to paper, time to let your ideas flow. But, as you craft your personal statements, be judicious with your words; reign in the tendency to ramble; and eliminate excessive wordiness. However, despite these fetters on your expression, or rather in spite of them, ensure that in the discerning eyes of the Admissions Officer , you stand out as a unique, desirable future student. All the best!
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