50,000 College Essays Analyzed

What if you could analyze thousands of college admissions essays?

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin analyzed 50,000 college admissions essays from more than 25,000 entering students and then tracked student grades over the next four years of college to see if there was a correlation. What did they find? Interestingly, the computer-based analysis showed that universities reward a certain kind of cognitive style.

One of the researchers of the study is David Beaver, professor of linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. “I would advise students at the high school level that most colleges are more interested in writing about the world of ideas and things than in personal narratives,” Beaver said. “Even when a college sets an essay title that seems to be asking for the applicants’ personal story, it’s a safe bet that the admissions officers (whether consciously or not) are looking for people who can put their own history in a broader context.”

The research study confirms the approach that we take at Ivy League Potential when helping students with their college application essays. It’s a fine art to write an essay and put your own story in a broader context. Generally, this style of writing is not taught in high school so most students have no experience with it.

We teach rising seniors this new way of writing so they can submit compelling essays that fit in with the theme of their college application. High-achieving students have to write anywhere from 10-40 essays, so they usually welcome the help!

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