Myth: Name-Dropping Will Boost My College Acceptance Odds

Did you know that it's a myth that name-dropping will get you accepted into college

Flickr user Lars Kristian Flem

College applications are a very tedious, but important, thing on every student’s to-do-list. We must fill in the online application, take our ACT / SAT tests, and ensure that all of our transcripts and other documents are sent to the university on time–among a zillion other things. Students focus mostly on sending the documents and filling out their personal information online and forget about writing the all-important essay.

Your college application involves an essay.

The majority of universities require you to send a detailed essay explaining why you think you should be accepted. Sentences like “I have good grades and look forward to get better with your help” or “attending this university has always been my dream, I can not picture myself somewhere else” are frequently used. These type of arguments are admired by the university, because the student shows interest in the education and has faith in his/her capability to get in (although you should probably find a more original way to get that sentiment across).

Some students try name-dropping.

On the other hand, there are students that don’t write about their skills, passions, and dreams, but rather about who they know. Some people think that if they brag about knowing someone important in the school, media, or even the state’s government, their application will instantly be accepted. Knowing the vice-president of the university would be helpful if they actually saw the application and decided who gets in and who does not, but bad news, that isn’t their job.

Why name-dropping isn’t the best idea.

Applications are received and checked by the admissions department, a group of people that are focused only on reading and seeing who is worth a place in the university and who is not. If your essay only explains that your dad is good friends with the head of the psychology department, and does not highlight your passion for people’s behavior or how you would like to help them understand what is going on in their minds, chances are the person who checks your application will just deny it and move on to next one.

What you should write about in your essay.

Universities look for students who are interested in improving what they already do, or learning a new and valuable set of skills. People who want to move forward and are passionate about a certain area. Students who will graduate and be a difference in the world, and by it, will put the name of the university in a good position. Those who only talk about their acquaintances, do so because they think knowing someone important is an amazing merit, when in reality the real merit is becoming someone important.

That vice-president some students brag about knowing got there because they studied for it, fought for it throughout his/her college years and never stopped. Not because they knew the previous president or so. Bragging about knowing someone important may get you in the university, if the system doesn’t work correctly, but at the end of the day you won’t feel happy about it. Getting into the university of your dreams by your own merits is the best feeling in the world. It shows you are capable of accomplishing everything you want and more.

Interested in seeing your (name-drop free) acceptance odds at any school around the country? Use our college match tool to see your chances!

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