If letters of recommendations are third party evaluations, assessments and descriptions of the student, the personal essay is a critical opportunity for the student to introduce him or herself to the admissions committee.
While essay questions vary among boarding school applications, the following questions (or variations thereof) are frequently asked by competitive boarding schools:
- Describe your family.
- Discuss your interests outside of academics.
- What are your favorite sports and/or extracurricular activities, and why?
- What is the most significant book you have read, and discuss its impact on you?
- Who has been the most significant in your life, and describe his or her significance?
In reading the student’s personal essays, boarding school admissions officers expect to gain insight into the student’s character and value system in addition to evaluating his or her writing ability in English.
While the required word count differs from school to school, on average the student will be required to write a total of 300 to 350 words per school. All boarding schools expect the essays to be the student’s original writing.