Gettysburg College Essay

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Why Thea Toocheck Went Early Decision

Where did you first hear about Gettysburg College?

I had actually never heard of Gettysburg before starting my college search process. Through my high school, I used Naviance, a program that let me plug in all the attributes I was looking for in a college. Gettysburg came back on the top of the list, but I visited about seven schools before deciding that Gettysburg was my favorite! After determining this, when I told people what my top choice was, they'd consistently respond, "Wow, that's a great school," which only reinforced my choice.

What made you apply Early Decision to the College?

From the moment I first stepped on campus, I knew Gettysburg was the place for me. The campus felt friendly and open. The campus size appealed to me, and I favored the small classes and the student-professor relationships; all the professors I met before applying were helpful and encouraging, and now that I'm here I know that they include students in research and try to get us involved with opportunities that other, larger schools don't have. The student experience is very individualized, the study abroad program is great, and everyone seems genuinely excited to be here. After weighing all of my options, I knew didn't want to spend my next four years anywhere else, so it only made sense to apply ED!

What have been some of your favorite aspects of the College community?

I love the sense of community here. Everyone is so friendly—I feel like I meet someone new every day. Also, I love all the outdoor chairs and tables, which allow me to do my work while enjoying the campus, and often friends will pass by and we'll do our work together.

What is your biggest piece of advice to students thinking about applying?

Go with your gut! Remember when you're looking at schools that it's not only the impressive statistics that matter but also how you feel about a place. And even if you're not sure, Gettysburg has so many opportunities that no matter what you're interested in, you can find your niche here.

Anything else you’d like to share with prospective students?

I know it's really difficult right now, but don't stress out too much! Once you choose your college, all the hard work will be worth it.

Thinking about the best way to write your college essay? After reading hundreds of essays last year, I wanted to share some thoughts as you're trying to balance a busy senior fall of challenging classes and activities as well as applying to colleges.

  1. Don't overthink it. The more you wonder "will this impress an admissions officer," the more likely we can tell that you've spent too much time deciding on the "right" topic, causing your essay to lose personality and authenticity.

  2. There is no perfect essay topic. Honestly, we're just looking to learn more about you and your interests. (You can write about why you think tomato soup and grilled cheese is the perfect meal on a cold day.)

  3. Please keep it short- a few paragraphs is perfect. Keep in mind that your entire application will eventually be ten or more pages.

  4. Ask your friends what they think is interesting and unique about you. Share your essay with them to make sure that it sounds like you.

  5. We know what seventeen and eighteen year-olds write like. We also know how parents, counselors and teachers write.

  6. If you're funny, you can write a funny essay. If you're not, please don't try. If you are generally a thoughtful and reflective person, your essay will show that.

  7. Make up a self-imposed deadline to write your essay. If you're trying to write your essay the night before it's due after a long day of school and play practice, plus having to study for a Physics exam, your creativity will suffer.

  8. Spell check will not save you. You must proofread. Spell check will not catch that you were ‘abducted' into National Honor Society. We realize that you were probably ‘inducted,' but we notice those things that spell check did not.

  9. Your essay is not a resume or an academic dissertation. Tell me something about your personality, and what makes you-you!

  10. Keep the essay focused! Do not try to tell me everything, pick one narrow topic, and develop it with as much detail as you can. Use your words to help paint an image or picture in the reader's mind so they come out of it feeling like they were there.

    Good luck!


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