Ed Source: "Since SAT/ACT scores are optional or totally off the table during the pandemic, many colleges say that the personal and academic information presented in applicants’ essays will loom somewhat larger than in the past. That, in turn, is making some students double down on their essay compositions, often trying to distinguish their pandemic experiences from others stuck in online education and lockdown. In some cases, anxiety is heightened because they are not able to talk face-to-face with counselors and can’t visit drop-in writing centers."
"Without standardized test scores, colleges will look more at the essays for evidence of 'intellectual curiosity, initiative, drive and determination,' said Jayne Fonash, who is immediate past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) ... It is the place 'to tell the story beyond the data, beyond grades and transcripts' and should be written in a student’s natural tone and language, 'not like the third act of a drama'."
“I think students put a lot of pressure on themselves for the essay to be perfect when, in fact, it simply should be a heartfelt, clearly and succinctly written story about an important aspect of their life,” Fonash added. The compositions “don’t have to be about an event that changed the future of the world. Their life may not have a lot of drama but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of life lessons.”