College Admissions Essays – Demonstrating Readiness

Alzar School | 20.03.19

Alzar School alumni go on to attend some of the top universities and colleges in the country and world. For many of our alumni, their college application essays feature an aspect of the Alzar School experience. Although there the numerous powerful stories depicted in these essays, we like to step back and analyze just what about the Alzar School experience helps our alumni stand out in a sea of college applications.

First, Alzar School alumni, by highlighting their time at Alzar School, demonstrate to admissions officers a willingness to step outside their comfort zones, a clear sign of maturity and readiness for the world of higher education. Secondly, many essays feature the personal leadership learned at Alzar School. Apart from our designated leadership curriculum, the personal and communal residential responsibilities taught during their semester prepare teens for what is expected of them at university. Mom wasn’t here to do laundry at Alzar School, just as she won’t be there to do it in college. Furthermore, Alzar School provides unique experiences that catalyze growth, like living in a close spaces (say with eight girls in a yurt,) learning through adversity (like finding inner strength on a rainy expedition,) and adventuring to remote areas of the world (as in looking out on the Patagonian wilderness from a mountain top.) Sharing these experiences with peers from various backgrounds gives Alzar School alumni a leg up in the college admissions process for they easily demonstrate the social maturity, tenacity, and resilience required to thrive in a dorm and in college. Finally, by traveling to Idaho and Chile with Alzar School, students gain a broader worldly perspective, helping them not only understand their own backgrounds but also how they view themselves in the world. Some essays propose lofty “change the world” ideas, however, colleges and universities want to invest in students who have the passion and drive to make a difference in the world. Through challenge, residential life, and travel, the Alzar School experience provides alumni with the chance to differentiate themselves and prove to college admissions boards that they are willing and ready for life at beyond high school.

Isaac and Elena, Alzar School alumni and students at Stanford University.

Here is an excerpt from one alumna’s college essay:

We grew closer with every laugh, card game, and occasional tear of homesickness. These girls became my closest friends, my sisters. We were always there for one another and still are today. Furthermore, these girls helped me step outside of my rural Vermont bubble and realize that the world is a big place filled with diverse people. My yurt mates helped me develop into a more open and independent person, and I hope that I did the same for them. Now that I am applying to colleges, I want to go somewhere where I can form similar bonds…