Here’s my experience with the whole admissions process.
There are no ‘tips’, details, or comments about the essays, no hypothesising as to why I think I got in (that’s mostly an exercise in futility, nobody really knows), but instead it’s a general picture of what I went through.
I’m an international applicant, so I had a pretty big choice of schools from various countries to apply to. I thought of applying to the US, so I went ahead and did the SAT, though I had no particular universities in mind (I had a vague dream of going to MIT).
When I got my SAT scores back and googled them (who doesn’t do that…), I had my mind blown. I could actually apply to Harvard??? Awesome! My school councelor advised me to apply to Stanford because it was good, so I did. I put so little effort into choosing my universities it should probably be considered criminal, but there was just so much choice, and not enough time.
And then I got a reply from Stanford. I wasn’t that excited because I didn’t really have much invested in my college choices, I was ready to accept what came, whatever it was. It’s only after doing some research that everything I’d achieved and could still achieve hit home… and I eventually committed.
I’m lucky, it could have gone wrong so easily. I could have ended up in a decent but small university in England.
What should you take away from it? That it’s maybe a good idea to look into where you’re applying, and not do it blindly like I did? I guess, though maybe it’s also a good idea to not invest yourself too much, in order to avoid having your heart broken.
Take it seriously, but then again not too seriously. It’s just the rest of your life, it’ll happen regardless of where you go.